Evacuation order for lifted areas surrounding the Oroville Dam

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images(OROVILLE, Calif.) -- California officials have lifted the evacuation order affecting hundreds of thousands of residents in the areas surround the Oroville Dam in Northern California.

Residents will be allowed to return to their homes and businesses allowed to reopen, said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

In a press conference Tuesday, Honea said that thousands of lives were protected from the looming prospect of a spillway failure due to those that directed the rapid evacuation.

While those evacuations were taking place, those at the spillway prevented more damage to a massive hole that was developing near the spillway.

Ahead of more storms are expected to batter Northern California later this week, workers reduced the level of lake below the top of the spillway, which halted erosion. Workers also increased the primary flow from the primary spillway to prepare for future inflows, reducing the possibility that the emergency spillway will be needed in the future.

Officials also developed a plan to fortify the area in front of the emergency spillway with boulders and concrete to prevent against future erosion.

The upcoming storms heightened the sense of urgency for the workers who are attempting to stabilize the area surrounding the Oroville Dam, but the new storms should not pose a threat to the emergency spillway as of Tuesday, officials said.

Nearly 200,000 people were evacuated on Sunday over concerns that a damaged spillway at Lake Oroville could fail, flooding the region with water. The reservoir is California's second-largest and is located 75 miles north of Sacramento and about 25 miles southeast of Chico.

Construction and helicopter units worked Tuesday to shore up an overflow channel and drain some water from the reservoir at the dam, in the hopes they can prevent spillage before more rain hits the already saturated region of California.

Close to 200 state employees were working at Oroville this morning and eight helicopters were deployed to deposit rocks, agents from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) told ABC News. The agency said they have 40 truck deliveries of rock per hour to the eroded areas and helicopters are also delivering a load of rocks every minute-and-a-half. They added that drones are monitoring the area 24 hours a days.

Light to moderate rain is expected Wednesday through Friday, according to ABC News meteorologists, before picking up again next week.

Next week's storms are expected to hit Sunday through next Tuesday and cause area-wide flooding.

Following years of drought in the region, 2017 has seen the wettest start to the year ever recorded in the Sacramento area -- now about a foot above normal for rainfall since October 1, 2016.

The surge in rainfall has wreaked havoc on the Oroville dam, which was already experiencing problems with damaged spillways.

When reservoirs get too full, their operators release extra water down long channels, or spillways, designed to carry it downstream and into safety.

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