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    An aerial photo of the burst of California's Oroville Dam.

    Hell or High Water? Oroville Dam Spillway Collapse (VIDEO)

    © AP Photo/ William Croyle
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    Tens of thousands of California residents remain in shelters as engineers rush to fix the spillway at America's tallest dam.

    Nearly 200,000 residents near the damaged dam were forced to leave their homes in rush, causing mass chaos and heavy traffic. They still have not received a permit to return home and are not likely to until the dam is fully repaired before new storms hit. Many evacuees have to stay at several shelters, sleeping on narrow cots, as most hotels in the area are at full capacity.

    California Department of Water Resources crews inspect and evaluate the erosion just below the Lake Oroville Emergency Spillway site after lake levels receded, in Oroville, California, U.S., February 13, 2017
    © REUTERS / Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources
    Following a lengthy drought, heavy rainfall and snow caused water levels in one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, Lake Oroville, to rise. Local authorities started releasing water down the regular spillway, which was damaged by a sinkhole and has stopped drainage of the lake. Water began pouring into the emergency spillway, which hasn't been used in almost half a century and failed to control the flooding.

    However, if the spillways totally failed, billions of gallons of water would have flowed from the lake and flooded three counties.

    Related:

    'This is Not a Drill': Looming Catastrophe at Nation's Tallest Dam
    Mass Chaos in California After Dam Cracks, 200,000 Evacuated (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
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    crisis, Oroville Dam, Oroville dam, United States, Oroville
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