Following a woefully belated response by California authorities’ to the dangerous situation unfolding at the Lake Oroville Dam in Northern California over the weekend, an evacuation order forcing some 200,000 people living below the tallest dam in the US remained in place early on Monday after residents were abruptly told to flee when a spillway appeared in danger of collapse.
The Oroville dam is nearly full following winter storms that brought relief to the state after four years of drought. Water levels were less than 7 feet (2 meters) from the top of the dam on Friday. State authorities and engineers on Thursday began releasing water from the dam after noticing that large chunks of concrete were missing from a spillway.
California Governor Jerry Brown asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday to declare the area a major disaster due to flooding and mudslides brought on by the storms.