A scene of chaos swept Northern California as the country’s tallest dam threatens to collapse and engulf multiple cities in a 100-foot-deep flood.
Nearly 200,000 local residents evacuated as officials implored citizens to seek safety:
All 23,000 members of the California National Guard have been placed on standby in the event of a cataclysmic dam failure.
“I’m just shocked,” said resident Greg Levias who was evacuating with his wife, two sons, and a dog.
Out of panic and desperation, he and his family crammed as much personal belongings into their car and evacuated as quickly as possible.
The situation began when erosion opened up a hole on the Oroville Dam’s spillway, gradually worsening:
— CANGJOCOPS (@CANGJ3OPS) February 9, 2017
But matters worsened when, on Sunday afternoon, authorities learned that even the emergency secondary spillway—a backup in case the primary one malfunctions—was also experiencing erosion.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) February 13, 2017
— Shivpreet Singh (@shivpreetsingh) February 13, 2017
Although the filling of Lake Oroville was a welcomed change from the previous years’ drought, this opposite extreme has posed its own set of complex issues for Californians.