Evacuation Ordered as California’s Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway to Fail

California, United States (Sputnik) – The city of Oroville and all of Yuba County in California have been ordered to evacuate as the Oroville dam’s emergency spillway is predicted to fail imminently.

The combined population of the areas under evacuation would appear to exceed 100,000 people.

The California Department of Water Resources is ordering residents to evacuate northward.

By California Department of Water Resources – Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Online accounts report traffic jams as people try to get out of harm’s way. On Tuesday, a huge hole formed in the spillway of the dam, which officials fear will grow until it hits bedrock. Water has been gushing over the spillway ever since.

The dam’s emergency spillway was then put into use, but severe erosion meant that officials are not sure it will be able to hold. Though officials described the situation as stable as recently as this morning, they are now urging residents in low-lying areas to leave, BNO News reports.

The dam is the nation’s tallest, and California’s second largest reservoir.

Officials had been expecting a problem for days, but had hoped to avoid using the emergency spillway, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday. This is the first time in the dam’s nearly 50-year history that the emergency spillway has been used. Water is expected to begin flowing over it at any minute.

This report prepared by Sputnik.