Californians Holding Breath as More Storms Loom

Water from the Oroville Dam Auxiliary Spillway at California’s Lake Oroville continues to flow and has eroded the roadway just below the spillway that leads to the spillway boat ramp. Lake Oroville, located about 90 minutes north of Sacramento, is the state’s second-largest reservoir. (Photo Credit: Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources)

California water officials are frantically releasing water today from the Oroville Dam, located about 75 miles north of Sacramento, as concerns remain about erosion of the nation’s tallest dam.

The Sacramento Bee reported this morning that Blackhawk helicopters have been called in to drop huge bags of rock to shore up the emergency spillway at the state’s second largest reservoir.

Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 people, who were evacuated Sunday, await word on when they can return home. Complicating matters, yet another storm in this extraordinarily wet winter is expected to arrive Wednesday night.

(Editor’s Note: The evacuation order was lifted shortly after 2 p.m. PST Tuesday. Meteorologists are now saying this week’s storms won’t pack as much precipitation as recent storms, and they are supposed to be colder, meaning more snow and less rain to immediately flow into the reservoir. Currently, water is being released at the rate of 100,000 cubic feet per second, while the inflow is about 20,000.)

Rivers and reservoirs are swollen throughout California. Large amounts of water have pooled in the Yolo Bypass, a water storage area designed to minimize flooding in Sacramento. Sediment stirred up during the flooding has turned waterways throughout northern California a dark shade of brown.

With weather stations in the northern Sierra Nevada recording remarkably high levels of precipitation for the 2016-17 water year, reservoir levels are well above the historical average in the Sacramento Valley and elsewhere in California.

Following the most recent storms, Lake Oroville stood at 151% of the historical average. Folsom Lake was at 144%, Lake Shasta — the state’s largest reservoir — was at 138%, Don Pedro Reservoir was at 141%, and Lake McClure was at 182%.

At the Oroville Dam, the situation became dire on Feb. 7, when a large hole appeared in the main concrete spillway, a part of the dam managers use to release excess water in a controlled fashion. The hole limited how much water authorities could safely release through the spillway, so water levels in the reservoir continued to rise.

A few days later, water began flowing over an emergency spillway that has never before been used. When that spillway began showing disturbing signs of erosion on Sunday, authorities ordered the evacuation of 188,000 people living downstream.

Lake Oroville’s levels have declined since the evacuation order and the risk of a catastrophic failure has lessened. But reservoir managers remain concerned that rain showers forecast for this week could elevate reservoir water levels and stress the spillways again.

As for growers, even they have had enough for now. In fact, almond growers in Northern California have not been able to get sprayers into their orchards to apply much-needed fungicides.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Californians Holding Breath as More Storms Loom

Farm Management Stories
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This Week
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
farm hacks collage
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your Farm Hacks
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Farm Management
July 19, 2017
Tom Nunes, V: The Best Labor Solutions Are When Everyone Wins
Competition for skilled farm labor is fierce in the West. But Nunes Vegetables, Inc. believes when growers work together, they will attract more workers to their community. Read More
Rain drops on leaf
Citrus
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Winning at Water Quality
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opinion]
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
2015 FFVA Annual Convention crowd
Citrus
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention Agenda
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
Carl and Dustin Grooms of Fancy Farms
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the Reins
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Dr. Martha Roberts
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the Year in Agriculture
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precision Agriculture Closer to Earth
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Online shopping graphic for GenNext Growers webcast
Business Planning
July 10, 2017
Farming for Online Sales Will Require Growers to Reboot
Modern agriculture might not be for everyone, but it’s here to stay. Embrace it. Read More
inspecting a citrus leaf for HLB symptoms
GenNext Growers
July 8, 2017
5 Crop Scouting Mistakes You Might Be Making
Inspecting fields for signs of pest pressure is critical to your farm’s success. But, are you doing it right? Read More
South Florida Water Management District's Merritt Pump Station
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Florida Struggling to Stay Afloat in Wake of Drought
In one month’s time, parts of the Sunshine State have gone from water shortage warnings to a high-water emergencies. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 5, 2017
National Young Farmer Coalition Members Show Support for Farm Bill
Young growers speak up about issues that impact the next generation of growers. Read More
cash money in hand
GenNext Growers
July 5, 2017
Ag Trade Association Awards Give $117,000 in College Scholarships
Awards to 59 students this year and previous years now exceeds $1.3 million in total. Read More
Center pivot irrigation system at Florida research farm
Citrus
June 30, 2017
New Project to Promote Water Security for Florida and Georgia Farmers
With the help of five-year, $5 million USDA grant, stakeholders will learn what it takes to better preserve precious resource. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
July 20, 2017
Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Taken Up a N…
Current conditions in the tropics warrant marked revision in potential storm season scenarios. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Researchers On a Mission to Find More Pl…
Federal grant to aid exploration of food security solutions for the future. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This …
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your …
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Farm Management
July 19, 2017
Tom Nunes, V: The Best Labor Solutions A…
Competition for skilled farm labor is fierce in the West. But Nunes Vegetables, Inc. believes when growers work together, they will attract more workers to their community. Read More
Citrus
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Win…
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opin…
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Ve…
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the …
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the …
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precisi…
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Business Planning
July 10, 2017
Farming for Online Sales Will Require Gr…
Modern agriculture might not be for everyone, but it’s here to stay. Embrace it. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Florida Struggling to Stay Afloat in Wak…
In one month’s time, parts of the Sunshine State have gone from water shortage warnings to a high-water emergencies. Read More
Citrus
June 30, 2017
New Project to Promote Water Security fo…
With the help of five-year, $5 million USDA grant, stakeholders will learn what it takes to better preserve precious resource. Read More
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Last Chance for New Operations to Sign U…
The Census of Agriculture, which takes place every five years, guides federal, state, and county level decisions on policies affecting growers. Read More
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Farm Management
June 27, 2017
Lipman’s Kent Shoemaker: Sustainab…
Nearly seven years ago, not long after being hired by the Lipman family, my wife and I attended an event Read More
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Shou…
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More