Water flowing over Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway for first time


OROVILLE, Calif. - The lake levels at the Oroville Dam reached high enough for water to be running over the emergency spillway for the first time in the dam's history.

Shortly before 8 a.m. on Saturday the water level exceeded 901-feet and started to flow over the emergency spillway. Since then the lake has continued to rise and the flow of water going over has increased.

Department of Water Resources officials said the flow over the emergency spillway will range between 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 10,000 cfs. They believe that when combined with the primary spillway flow that the Feather River will flow at 60,000 to 70,000 cfs.

Officials say that this puts the Feather River at half of the downstream flood system capacity which is not unusual for a wet year such as this one.

Oroville Auxilliary Spillway Flow Begins- Well within Feather River Capacity #OrovilleSpillway

-- CA - DWR (@CA_DWR) February 11, 2017

The DWR says that the volume of water is expected to pose no flood threat downstream and emphasized that the Oroville Dam itself remains safe and that there is no imminent threat to the public.

In a press conference on Friday, the Department of Water Resources said that they had a plan in place to help catch the debris that will come from prolonged use of the emergency spillway.

This is a developing story and a reporter is headed to the dam, check back for more updates.

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