Oroville dam area is being evacuated according to our local news station.
I know David is not far from it, but do not know exactly where he is relative to the dam. Details are not clear at the moment, but they were talking like a large area may be affected.
News shows roads are jammed as thousands comply with evacuation orders. I have left messages for David offering our spare rooms and beds. I think he is up above the flood plane and should be ok without evacuating.
For days the water officials have been telling everyone to chill, no problem. The emergency spillway flowed for the first time ever because the closed main spillway due to damage. Unfortunately it seems to be eroding the dam, so they reopened the spillway to lower the lake. Damage to spillway will be north of $200 million to repair, now that spillway is open it will be much worse. $200 mill is chicken feed compared to a dam failure.
Btw, this is the highest dam in the nation (I think it is about 900 feet).
Late breaking news, damage is not as bad as originally thought. Dam is safe, evacuations still in effect. Most centers are filled, our county just opened our fairgrounds as an evacuee center.
(Message edited by Thorlick on February 12, 2017)
Wiki says 770ft. tall.
I am hating internet news. All the pop ups and BS. Why can't
I just read a news story ?
Amazing how this dam was reflective of the entire State's drought
cries as late as a few months ago, water levels at 42% capacity !
Now they are sh!tting bricks because of overflows !
The dam is 770 feet tall, from the bottom of the lake/spillway (?) to the top of the water when/if full. The top of the lake (when full) is about 900 feet above sea level. The majority of the floor of the central valley is below 100 feet above sea level (Sacramento is at about 70 feet above sea level). Do the math, and it is about only 50 feet elevation from the bottom of the dam, to the floor of the valley. Note, none of those figures are exact.
Current news reports are that 130,000 people are under the evacuation order. Roads are jammed, lines at gasoline stations are long.
As expected, reports are all over the place. It is said that early Sunday afternoon, it was a clear beautiful day, and in spite of the problem in Oroville Dam's main (and unfortunately apparently only main) spillway, there was believed by the expert engineers to be no real danger. Reluctantly (according to reports the past few days), the emergency spillway was used for the first time in the 48 years since the dam was filled. It almost immediately began to wash out the base of the dam, and quickly became clear that it COULD NOT be relied upon in an emergency, that likely may happen when the next major storm hits Califunny Wednesday.
The main spillway has washed out a chunk the size of a four-story building, across the full width of the spillway. They decided to sacrifice a major portion of the main spillway and are continuing to drain water (which will up the cost of repairs later, probably by 100s of millions) because if the level in the lake/dam is not low enough to take the rain runoff next week, it cannot be stopped from going over the emergency spillway, which could likely result in a total collapse of the dam.
The break in the main spillway is far enough from the dam proper that it probably cannot back-wash enough to cause the dam's collapse.
But it could.
I have been watching this situation as closely as my situation would allow for several days now. This is a development I thought was likely from the first report. Sometimes it sucks to have an engineering background.
David D, I tried to call you, but all I got was an intercept operator?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, thanks for the. Corrections. I couldn't get through to David but did leave messages on his cell and home phones.
I am fascinated to look at the aerial views, all the helicopters buzzing around. Two days ago the FAA issued a notice about the spillway. That area is a no fly zone below 3,000 feet in the area. The restriction was set for Saturday through Wednesday. Very interesting, I wonder how those flyers got exempted from that TFR?
Terry H, Thank you also! I find the whole situation both fascinating, and disturbing. All I know about it is mostly what I have seen on the news reports, a few details I got from Mr Google, and tempered by what I have spent a lifetime learning. I won't get into preaching about the politics underneath all this now. I am very concerned for so many people in that area. David is the closest friend I have that could be in danger from this, although I know a few other HCCA and model T people also there.
How is the traffic down your way? Probably a good time to stay away from highway 20. We are near the Nevada County Fairgrounds, with the local airport only a few miles on the other side of us. I have heard several helicopters going and coming, don't know what they are up to. But when they fly at night? It is usually not very good for somebody.
There goes another helicopter as I type.
I trust that David and Linda D will be fine. I know that their place is on a hill, but have never been to their place, so I cannot visualize their risk. The odds are that the dam will hold, provided they can drop the level enough before the next storm comes in.
I hope for the best, for all.
I just now checked my email! David Dewey says that he and Linda are okay. It came in just a bit ago.
He said that they were in Davis (low ground not far enough South) when the announcements went out. He said they had to take the long way home by way of Auburn and Grass Valley (he should have stayed up here!), but had gotten home okay. He also said they had groceries enough to last for awhile.
I still hope they are high enough to stay clear if anything goes badly.
I just wanted to let anyone else that cares know that.
Thank you all for your concern. I was in Davis (near Sacramento) when this all happened. Was heading out the door to drive home when one of the folks got a phone call from a friend and she said, 'The Dam is collapsing!" Well, that isn't what was happening, but we got the skinny and skedaddled out of there and went home via Auburn and Grass Valley (passing through Penn Valley, about a mile from Terry's place) and got home about 4 hours after we left. Situation at this point is stable--but big storms predicted for this week, so it's not a "done deal" here! Tomorrow in the daylight, I will see what it's like to live next to a ghost town. I don't expect any mail service (PO is in the flood evacuation area), and will likely have to cancel any appointments I have this week. Even if they are out of the evacuation area, it will likely be impossible to drive there. The other thing I just became aware of is food--the "local" store about a mile away (also above the dam) just reported their shelves are bare of essentials. hmm.
So here are some pictures from yesterday when "everything is fine." Now remember, in these pictures there is about one FOOT and a half of water going over that edge--that is a LOT of water!
Dam, water and valley from the water side
Dam, spillway structure and emergency overflow
close up of the emergency spillway--remember, that's a foot and a half high of water going over the edge.
And now a pic from the valley side, here's the whole dam, the area in the foreground is where the clay for the dam core was taken.
Another pic from the valley, the City of Oroville is in front of us, in the valley between where I took this picture and the dam. the white you see is actually the water flowing over the emergency spillway berm (a concrete "curb" that goes from the regular spillway structure to the hillside to the north. On the north end on the dam side is the boat launch parking lot, and at that point all one usually sees of the structure looks like a large sidewalk curb. I do imagine there's lots more under the dirt!).
And a close up of just the emergency spillway area.
David..thanks for the update, and the excellent pictures of what now puts it into a better visual idea for us east of the Mississippi. My prayers go out to you and your family that you and your property will stay safe. As I type this there's a current news cast on the situation, that is some wild amount of water flowing downhill. For now they say everything is stabilized, but of course worried about future weather, and of course, everyone knows how rushing water can deteriorate things. God Bless and good luck!
Just saw on my AOL homepage news that the spillway is dumping 65 thousand CUBIC FEET of water per SECOND!! That is absolutely insane! If it doesn't crumble into bits, it'll be a miracle!
Thinking of you your family and all the people affected.
As far as I can see California Dept of Water Resources screwed up royally by holding to much water in Lake Oroville!!! A bunch of heads at DWR should role for this colossal blunder. This is what you get when the wacko left has dictatorial control over an entire state. Wake up Califunny!!!
I see a picture during the drought with the water down maybe 75' and i wonder how much inspection/work was done if any ? Bud.
We have been in drought conditions here for years. Our water usage has been limited by common sense, common courtesy and government fiat. This year we have been blessed with an above normal rainfall and massive snow accumulations. We have all been looking forward to easing of drought restrictions.
What we are seeing is that the government is not moving to lessening those restrictions but are tenaciously holding on to their new found power. Lots of reasons for this exist which I will now shut up about.
By this time of year my field around my shop is usually green and beautiful. It is still brown from the lack of water it suffered last season. All the rain we have been getting has all the ground saturated. When you walk out there it sounds like you are treading on a fully saturated sponge. The hillsides are all slippery, trees are falling on many properties. When new rains come they cannot be absorbed into the ground and just run off. We are seeing mudslides and sink holes in many places.
We also are on the heels of a massive tree die-off in our forests due to drought and bark beetle infestation. When the trees die and start falling they no longer hold the soil in place against the precipitation.
Grass Valley (the town 8 miles east of me where I lived for 30 years and practiced dentistry) experienced a sink hole... the first one there unrelated to the gold mining operations there in the 19th century. A failed city owned culvert took out a business property and threatens a road and Hwy 20 a four lane state owned freeway which has been sinking. The repair of this threatens to swallow up the funds normally used for the town's infrastucture maintenance... and other services. Fortunately emergency measures promise to provide state and federal assistance.
There is another storm coming in soon. I hope that it is a cold one with more snow. Warm rains not only will run down the watershed, they will melt the snow up in the mountains adding what should be our water storage up there to the current water volume.
Dams such as Oroville provide lots of recreation, fishing, boating, etc. Fish habitat is part of it, we see a rush to relocate fish from hatcheries as the silt stirred up with high flows is choking off threatened species. The main reason for the dams is flood control. In the 1920's there were devastating floods in Southern California which spurred the building of many of our dams.
Currently the folks in Oroville are trying to get the water level back down to 50 feet below it's current level. If they accomplish that then the dam will save the area from massive flooding which would otherwise occur. In other words it will do it's job.
The outlook currently is that the dam will hold, this spring we will start hearing about damage to wildlife. We will also see a bloom in folks coming in to harvest the gold newly washed down into our rivers. We will see a boom in construction repair to damaged properties including dam and drainage repair... if funds are available.
Things will finally green up for model T spring wildflower tours! Many of us are hopeful that we will see a resurgence in flood control dam construction which has been shackled by well meaning political obstruction for many years. Just down the road from here is the Auburn Dam (site, contruction was started and then halted long before I moved to this area), I still see the bumper sticker sometimes: "Just build it, dam it."
Having had an engineering education I am sure that many lessons have been learned from Oroville and it is time to get to work and improve the situation.
This rant is IMHO, TH
Bud, I hear that the spillway was inspected about a month ago and no damage noted.
Terry,If the spillway was good i fear the high water is causing perculating and once that starts it could be very bad? Bud.
Terry, I hold you personally responsible for management of incoming
precip as either rain or snow. Ordering rain when you need snow is
just bad decision making on management's part. I need you to be more
on top of your game.
Bud, I don't think that the ground saturation affects the dam because it is built on bedrock. The decision to reopen the main spillway was made because the original failure had already eroded to bedrock and less damage would occur there than that which would occur if the emergency spillway was allowed to continue eroding.
The ground saturation and percolation is more of a concern upstream in the watershed. It can cause damage upstream and will affect the dam indirectly by increasing runoff.
Bud, here is a link to a better answer to your well founded concerns:
It is my understanding that the helicopters are being used to drop rocks into the hole in the spillway to stop further erosion.
Still catching up on things here, hope to get out to the dam overlook to see what's going on, but don't want to add to the traffic either. If I find anything interesting, I'll post back!
Norm, it is my understanding that there are now holes in both the main and emergency spillways. Rocks are for the emergency spillway. I think the idea is to retard spillway collapse should the emergency spillway come in to use again. I can't see any way to rock the main spillway while it is flowing 100,000 cfs. I bet they will wait on that until summer when the spillway can be shut off.
Just my guess, TH
Terry, that would be my speculation also. There is no control of the emergency spillway once the water level goes above a certain point. It just dumps huge amounts of water. The erosion by that water is way too close to the dam itself, and could undercut the base of the dam. The damage to the main spillway is far enough away from the main portions of the dam that the damage may be expensive, however the threat of undercutting the dam is fairly small. News coverage last night was also indicating that it is the emergency spillway they are using helicopters to build up.
I doubt that the helicopters I heard last night had a lot to do with that project. I would imagine there would be closer places for servicing and getting their rock. But we are not all that far away as the crow flies. So it could be involved.
Thank you Terry!!!!!!!!!!Bud.
With family 'down river' from Oroville, we get concerned about NoCal as much as anyone else. Imagine the amount of water... An 'acre' is roughly 208 X 208 feet. Found this computation, then realized that 100,000 cfs estimate might be a bit short, since reports were about 18" depth over the spillway... Believe reading the 'emergency spillway to measure 200 feet? That would be about 4" deep per acre, per second! "Water ALWAYS wins!"
Don't worry California has a back up plan and they are sending for him now.
Well, I have a few more things to do today, tonight I will download pics I took today of trucks of rocks being hauled out to the emergency spillway. Big bags of rocks also waiting for a large enough helicopter to fly it over to the damage area. Despite reports of them already in use, they aren't. I pity the poor folks who live near the rock gathering location which is the very old observation platform parking area from when the dam was being built.
Grad your ok DD
Meso grad too !
OK, wow, talk about the press everywhere! Went down to the boulder trans-load area and there's my friends being the flag-persons. Easy volunteer job for them as they live just around the corner. Tried to wait for the choppers to carry rocks over to the dam, but they must have started right AFTER I left.
So far, so good, but they are talking more about the coming rain storms. . . .
So, the emergency spillway with the water about a foot under it
The bolder transload site, this is one of the two remaining parking lots for the construction observation sites from 50 years ago! The lots have been empty for decades, even fenced off. The rocks are coming in apparently from two different quarries. I heard one is from an old gold mine.
Rocks and copters
Rock truck on way to the dam
Oh, and one overview so you can see only some of the TV trucks.
Evacuations now downsized to "Warning" and folks are coming back home--however, there's a duzy of a rain/snow storm coming in Wednesday night with rain on and off thru next week. Time will tell!
Spent today working on moving the theatre organ to higher ground, and will probably spend all day Wednesday moving the rest of it. I'm feeling spots I haven't felt before!! Tylonal is my friend. . . .
While working on pulling bands for lining renewal on Rusty yesterday (obligatory Model T Ford content) I had local radio talk shows blaring in the background. The second guessing of the Oroville Dam is just starting and the fecal material is being stacked about 770 feet thick above the heavy air handlers.
The salient discussion orbits around the notion that the dams up here were funded by the state to provide flood control, harnessing that water to supply Los Angeles. Oroville Dam apparently was planned to receive a concrete emergency spillway but was granted an operating license prior to it's completion 49 years ago. Since then the plan to finish the dam has been in limbo. Ten years ago a Yuba River Conservancy memo sent to the state predicted failure of the emergency spillway if it were to be pressed into service. The consensus was that the money for completion has not been forthcoming from the state. It was deemed less costly to cement over the report than the spillway, so funds were not made available.
Callers couldn't help noting that funds are being collected to tunnel under the Sacramento Delta to bring more water south, funds which should have finished the dam. My wife noted that the money tied up in the "Bullet Train" project would quickly finish that dam... well repair and finish... if shifted there. The tunnel and train are pet projects of our governor.
Bud correctly questioned the inspections of the main spillway. It has been inspected over the last few years and found lacking. It, apparently has been repaired at least twice and the recent repair has washed out precipitating this event. The emergency spillway design is such that if it is ever used it will be in a flooding event. It is an uncontrolled spillway so if water going that way were to cause downstream flooding the only way to shut the flow off is to open the main spillway thereby increasing downstream flooding.
The problem seems to devolve down to politics and planning. The two greatest population centers in the state drive the expenditure of funds and control the infrastructure projects. This dam was finished because it was supplying water to L.A., money spent on improving the dam wouldn't bring more water to L.A. so it didn't get spent. Much has been written on the subject of water in Southern California, (if you're interested just Google a few topics such as William Mulholland, California Water Wars, St. Francis Dam, etc.).
Yesterday the threat was downgraded and folks told it is ok to go home (at their own risk). One caller to the radio station mentioned she was talking with her neighbor who works at the dam. The neighbor is not allowing his family to return home because he fears the safety level currently. I wonder if the state is really going to blame residents for taking the risk of returning if things go badly?
Government is up here in Sacramento, but the fist inside the governmental puppet belongs to the politicians in the populous south.
Heavy rain is due tonight.
Far from a expert but i think the chopper fly in rocks might be too little too late? It would seem that a place at the base of erosion be used to dump rocks covered in thin layers of clay gravel and repeated pushed in place by several cats?? With a little luck our do nothing congress will stay safe while everything else crumbles!! Sorry for my rant-Bud.
Terry is 'hitting the nail right on the thumb'.... The wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the grease, hence the populous areas want only THEIR dogs to be ones allowed to bark. (Funny how fed-up and justified those of us in the 'fly-over' states felt last November!) If only there would be, for 'free speech' to be allowed to go in both directions, along with some common sense which sure doesn't seem to be very common.....
The ultimate realization: Listening only to those who yell the loudest does not provide communication. Effective communication only happens when both sides are willing to understand. JMHO.
Be safe, 'youse guys!
I was following Terry and agreeing with him until the last sentence. You will note that the Governor, the Lt governor The two senators, and many other powerful leaders are from the Bay area.
Not from the south. We even had a candidate for U.S. senator from the "Populous south" and she was defeated by one from the north.
A couple of the problems which exist are not improving the water distribution system to the farmers which caused a man made drought and the other was spending billions on a train to nowhere instead of repairing the existing aging infrastructure.
Youse guys better be careful! Keep talking like this and you too could be branded as crazy people! I have been ranting to the winds since I was in high school.
Norman K, I do also agree with what you brought up. It really is not a North or South thing. Califunny (I have called it that for many years for many reasons) has rightfully been called the "granola" state by many people before I ever called it that. "That which ain't fruits or nuts, is flakes!" The Northern half of the state certainly has its fair share of political (I will be nice and not say it).
I recently read several articles about the "think tank" moving the hands of the "doomsday clock" forward a bit closer to the end of the world as we know it. While this is merely symbolic, it shows that across political lines, there is a serious concern. While the "think tank" gave several reasons why they are concerned, I truly believe that they left out the most important thing to fear. None of the articles I read mentioned political corruption and greed among likely causes of our undoing. Most of what was mentioned, is likely most possible also because of the politics involved. But if our government does not clean out most of the corruption, and start doing what is RIGHT for ALL the people (not just the select few), our government will never be able to handle major emergencies, let alone prevent them.
My rant for the day.
Followed by a twisted quote or two.
WE THE PEOPLE mattered 240 years ago. And it needs to become one of our most cherished three words again.
Abraham Lincoln's "Government of the people, by the people, and FOR the people" has perished. It was quietly replaced by "government of the masses, by the chosen, for the select few."
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, I agree completly. It is a shell game. Keep the people baffled about fake news stories that has nothing to do with the countries real problems. Big government that has to many mouths to feed and pockets to line is only one. Put out only news that divides the people against one another. I will stop now... The people need to wake up. I could type till midnight and just be getting started.
David I hope all your preperation is for not. Praying the rain dtayes away.
Drive safe and often
Some more pictures today: spend much of the day moving pipe organ parts (again!) We filled the available storage unit, and there's still parts in the flood zone, but not many (two ranks of pipes and all the swell shades); we could restore the organ without them, but if they get destroyed by water, restoring the organ will be the least of our problems
One thing: The "emergency spillway" is nothing of the sort--it is an 'Emergency Overflow" consisting of a very wide concrete berm that is a foot above what is supposed to be the highest level of water in the reservoir. Apparently it should have been built with a concrete apron so the overflow water wouldn't undercut it. OOOPS!
So here are a few shots of the helicopters hauling rocks to fill the hole (must be a really BIG hole). I was told the choppers cost $9K an hour, and there are two of them.
Chopper hooking up to a bag.
Chopper taking off with a bag 'O' Rocks. I can't get anywhere to show pics of them dumping the bags
And here is a truckload of Bags "O' rocks arriving.
Now I'm infamous! Picture of me helping move the State Theatre's Pipe Organ--not at all doing what the photo says (wasn't returning it, was getting it out of storage in a building smack in the middle of the flood zone and putting it upstairs at the theatre and also to a storage facility above the dam.
Now if I could just turn this notoriety into Model T parts. . . .
David, thank you for keeping us up to date.
A real celeb now! Those T parts will start rollin' in soon.
I cannot even begin to comprehend the situation all of you folks are in.
David, you could sell autographed photos like Brady from the Patriots for $2,000 each!
Just for giving me the idea, I will sell you the first one for $1,000!
On the radio this morning it was said that some workers are in trouble for posting pictures of the repair project. Huh???
Since I'm not a repair worker, I guess I'm safe. . .
I posted the question "I wonder how those flyers got exempted from that TFR?" in regards to helicopters flying in the restricted airspace. Normally flight there is ok, but the area was placed under temporary flight restriction (TFR) by the FAA in a NOTAM (notice to airmen... er airpersons?) which all pilots in the area must know and heed.
I searched out the exemption to that air rule which may have been followed to allow those flights. It is: FAR 91.137 d)4)
§ 91.137 Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.
(d) When a NOTAM has been issued under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft within the designated area unless at least one of the following conditions is met:
(4) The aircraft is carrying properly accredited news representatives and, prior to entering that area, a flight plan is filed with the appropriate FSS or ATC facility specified in the NOTAM.
There you have it, now I'm more comfortable assuming that each of those news helicopters had accredited reporters on board and that they filed a flight plan with the FSS (Flight Service Station... down in Sacramento).
Whew!!! Now you all can relax too!