Evacuations Ordered as Oroville Dam Spillway Predicted to Fail

iStock/Thinkstock(OROVILLE, Calif.) -- Emergency evacuations have been ordered in northern California as the severely eroded auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam is expected to fail.

Officials in Butte County said failure of the structure would "result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville" and warned residents from the low levels of Oroville, California and areas downstream to move to higher ground immediately.

The evacuation order affects tens of thousands of people in the area.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released 100,000 cubic feet of water per second that lowered the lake quickly, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. The DWR said it was planning to use helicopters to drop rocks to fill in the gouge and stabilize the spillway.

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