California town evacuated as officials warn of flash flood from imminent dam collapse
Spillways of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, CA (Screen capture)

Emergency officials issued evacuation orders for a northern California town Sunday afternoon as a major dam's emergency spillway gave signs of collapsing.


The California Department of Water Resources issued the following bulletin at around 4:45 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday:

EMERGENCY EVACUATION ORDER ISSUED: Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes.

Residents of Oroville should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. Other cities should follow the orders of their local law enforcement.

Over the last month, the area has received unprecedented amounts of rain, leading to flooding of rivers and streams.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Facebook:

This is an evacuation order.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

A hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill.

The Sacramento Bee said, "An evacuation center has been established for Oroville residents at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, according to the National Weather Service. The address is 2357 Fair St."

UPDATE: Live updates are available here via The Mercury News.

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