California - a potential catastrophic failure of an auxiliary spillway at lake oroville has resulted in at least 130 thousand people being evacuated, reports KRA3 News.

California, Butte and Yuba people are at risk of spillway failure

People living in the Butte and Yuba counties are at risk. According to a statement posted on Facebook by the office of the Butte County Sheriff, "Operation of the auxiliary spillway has (led) 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."

Sheriff's office spokesperson Leslie Caqrbah said the following cities in Yuba county have had evacuation orders issued:

  • Marysville
  • Hallwood
  • Ollivehurst
  • Plumas Lake
  • Wheatland

Live Oak, Yuba City, Nicolaus and all communities Feather River Yuba City basin have also had immediate evacuation orders.

Highway Patrol open highway lanes to facilitate evacuation

In Orville, police said that some looting has happened as people left their communities and at least two incidents have been reported. In the meantime, the California Highway Patrol has opened up southbound lanes of Highway 70 for nothbound traffic to help facilitate the evacuation.

Emergency crews rush to try and stabilize the spillway

KCRA3 cited the California Office of Emergency Services as saying that "the potential failure of Lake Oroville's emergency spillway is 'potentially catastrophic.'" According to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, the situation may be salvageable however as the spillway is not eroding as fast as first thought and the Department of Water Resources is going to attempt to drop boulders from a helicopter into the gorge below the spillway to stop the erosion.

Emergency crews are en route with bulldozers and helicopters to help.

In the meantime, to try and prevent more erosion, the auxiliary spillway has been closed and more water will be diverted to the main spillway which is designed to take more water flow than it is currently using. Nevertheless, DWR did say that the increased flow of water on the main spillway could cause damage.

Animal shelters for those in peril

Peope have come forward to offer shelter for animals, including horses. There is a large animal shelter that is open at the Camelot Equestrian Park in Oroville.

Donald Trump's concerns about broken infrastructure

The emergency has highlighted Donald Trump's feelings about the state of dams and reservoirs in the country. The New Republic quoted him as saying on the campaign trail that "Trump spoke often about America’s broken infrastructure as an example of how 'we don’t win anymore.'”