Meg Jordan was walking her dog along the East San Rafael shoreline this week when she caught sight of something she had never seen before — a sprawling mass of tule grass, branches and garbage floating near Spinnaker Point.
A powerful storm hit California with the first in a new series of rainstorms moving across the northern half of the state while the south awaited a rains that forecasters said could be the strongest in years if not decades.
The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure’s two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges.
Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears.
The Oroville Dam debacle is a wake-up call to California. If we heed the call, we may be able to avoid what could certainly be other disasters and wrong turns in the state water system as we head into an age typified by extreme weather events associated with climate change.
The critical document that determines how much space should be left in Lake Oroville for flood control during the rainy season hasn’t been updated since 1970, and it uses climatological data and runoff projections so old they don’t account for two of the biggest floods ever to strike the region. … Most recently, the issue of outdated dam manuals came up in the context of California’s five-year drought.
The crisis at Oroville Dam on the Feather River eased yesterday as state officials gained control over the damaged spillway and allowed the more than 180,000 evacuees to return home. … Now that the immediate crisis is past, we should take the opportunity to review how we manage California’s big dams—and what changes would help us do so more effectively in future.
With both spillways badly damaged and a new storm approaching, America’s tallest dam on Tuesday became the site of a desperate operation to fortify the massive structures before they face another major test. … In a sign of the progress made Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing all evacuated residents to return home.
Orange County has been sued for the second time in four days over allegations that it broke the law when it recently cleared out portions of a homeless encampment along the riverbed in Orange to make room to stockpile boulders and sand for flood control purposes.
While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms, finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.
President Trump issued major disaster declarations to enable federal funding for California on two fronts — to aid with the Oroville Dam spillway damage and mass evacuations and to help the state deal with the widespread effects of January’s storms.
A year ago, politicians and experts were predicting a near-permanent statewide drought, a “new normal” desert climate. The most vivid example of how wrong they were is that California’s majestic Oroville Dam is currently in danger of spillway failure in a season of record snow and rainfall.
One day after the deterioration of an Oroville Dam spillway forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people in the Sacramento Valley, a reservoir at the southern end of Santa Clara Valley flirted with an ominous milestone.
Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Trump administration for a federal disaster declaration for the emergency at Oroville Dam on Monday evening, citing the impending arrival of more storms and the potential need to resort again to the dam’s emergency spillway, which has been severely eroded.