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Insane drone footage shows massive damage and flooding at California's Oroville Dam

Insane drone footage shows massive damage and flooding at California's Oroville Dam

However, officials were apparently warned several times that the Oroville Dam emergency spillway wasn't safe, yet they didn't listen.

They said evacuation orders remained in place for some 188,000 people in Oroville, Yuba County, Butte County, Marysville and nearby communities and would be re-evaluated at dawn.

High water levels at Lake Oroville this weekend prompted authorities to use the dam's emergency spillway for the first time in its almost 50-year history.

The dam's main spillway was severely damaged by erosion last week, prompting authorities to activate the emergency outlet.

Chris Orrock, a Department of Water Resources spokesman, said it appears the dam's main spillway has stopped crumbling even though it is being used for water releases.

"We didn't have the luxury of waiting to see if all was okay", said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, explaining that when he ordered the evacuations, officials believed the spillway might collapse within hours. Once Lake Oroville reached capacity, officials from California's Department of Water Resources began utilizing the dam's spillway - a structure that provides the controlled release of water. The dam itself, the tallest in the United States, was never in danger.

In this handout provided by the California Department of Water Resources (pixel.water.ca.gov), Water from the Oroville Dam Auxiliary Spillway at Lake Oroville continues to flow and has eroded the roadway just below the spillway that leads to the spillway boat ramp February 12, 2017 in Oroville, California.

More news: More than 55000 United States bridges structurally deficient

The 770 foot tall Oroville dam is located 150 miles north of San Francisco.

Those flows could overwhelm the Feather River and other downstream waterways and levees and flood towns in three counties.

Reportedly, large population residing in areas being evacuated is that of Indian origin Americans.

By early Monday, the flow of water over the dam to the spillway was slowed as the water level in Like Oroville dropped. Gridley and Live Oak were included in the evacuation alert on Sunday evening. Water levels were less than 2 metres from the top of the dam on Friday.

In the filing, the water agencies told federal regulators that environmentalists and local officials did not show that the emergency spillway posed a public risk. The Oroville Dam forms Lake Oroville, which holds around 3.5 million acre feet of water.

"Officials now anticipate a failure of the auxiliary spillway within 60 minutes", The National Weather Service said in a warning on Sunday afternoon, urging residents to evacuate in a northward direction toward the town of Chico. This is expected to happen by late Saturday or Sunday, Croyle said.

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