14:03 GMT +313 December 2019
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    In this Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, photo, Jason Newton, of the Department of Water Resources, takes a picture of water going over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif

    California Dam Evacuees Can Return Home, Businesses to Resume Operations

    © AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli
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    Butte County sheriff Kory Honea has announced that the 188,000 Californians evacuated due to damage to the Oroville Dam may return to their homes after two days of displacement.

    California authorities have been using helicopters and dump trucks to fill the hole in the dam and redirect the water. They have been working around the clock to lower water levels prior to the rainfall that is expected to begin on Wednesday.

    The Oroville Dam, America's tallest, cracked open on Sunday when a hole formed in its emergency spillway. The crack is believed to have formed due to erosion. Local authorities replied with a mass evacuation over three counties in Northern California.

    "Due to lower lake levels, further inspections, ongoing work to shore-up the Oroville dam emergency spillway and updated weather forecasts… the evacuation order for the Oroville Dam spillway incident has been reduced to an evacuation warning," the Sheriff's office wrote on Tuesday.

    At 1:45 PST, officials reduced the evacuation order to a flood warning. As Butte County's website puts it: "An Evacuation Warning means the immediate threat has ended but the potential for an emergency remains and therefore residents must remain prepared for the possibility of an Evacuation Order."

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in the daily press briefing that the president was "keeping a close eye on the Oroville Dam situation." He promised full federal support for efforts to repair the dam and return the displaced thousands to their homes.

    Earlier today, California's chief hydrologist Maury Roos claimed that the dam would be able to withstand the rainfall.


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    dam, reservoir, evacuation, Oroville, California
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