The Oroville Dam crisis has forced almost 200,000 people located downstream to evacuate, and it's not likely to be resolved quickly, based on the latest forecasts. Engineers spotted a hole in the spillway, which they feared could have failed within an hour.
Mr Orrock said Lake Oroville had reached 884ft.
Crews were working to shore up an emergency overflow channel at the Lake Oroville Dam, using helicopters and heavy construction equipment to place rock and other materials into areas of erosion, the California Department of Water Resources said. "I want that to happen as soon soon as possible". But because the water levels are so high, the emergency spillway - which appears to be eroding - could unleash a wall of water onto the communities below if it collapses. Authorities believed the emergency spillway, which is earthen, was on the verge of collapse and issued swift, stern evacuation orders.
Communities covered by the evacuation order included Oroville, Marysville, Olivehurst, Linda, Plumas Lake, Gridley, Live Oak and Yuba City. Empty gas stations had yellow tape ringed around the pump to indicate there was no more fuel.
"People were just panicking, honking and yelling at each other", he said. Now a massive retrofit is under way, and until the dam can be fixed, the corps is not letting it get too full, even in rainy years like this one. "It was pretty scary".
Sheriff Kory Honea called Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern and transferred the inmates to Santa Rita Jail and Glenn Dyer Detention Facility Sunday night, according to the Mercury News.
The threat emerged after weeks of storms dumped rain and snow across California, particularly in northern parts of the state.
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A damaged property is seen under flood waters in Oroville, California, on February 13, 2017. He says the lake behind Oroville Dam also is capable of handling additional rain from an expected storm this week. Eventually, the flow of water ripped through a road below and carved out deep chasms in the ground.
Thousands of homes sit abandoned in the Feather River Valley below California's Lake Oroville Dam, as officials race to fix the dam's damaged spillways. School officials say they will now remain closed until they are told by authorities that the area is safe.
Will that be enough to overwhelm the dam's spillways? The groups warned of a complete failure of the dam itself, threatening lives and property.
Back when environmentalists and local officials were raising their concerns, the water resources department dismissed the need to fortify the hillside, insisting it would not be in danger if water cascaded down it.
On Monday, Cal Fire officials expressed their gratitude to the thousands of evacuees.