Sheriff: Be prepared if risk of Oroville Dam flooding rises

Water continues to run down the main spillway at Lake Oroville on Monday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. The water level dropped Monday behind the nation's tallest dam, reducing the risk of a catastrophic spillway collapse and easing fears that prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downstream. Sunday afternoon's evacuation order came after engineers spotted a hole on the concrete lip of the secondary spillway for the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam and told authorities that it could fail within the hour. (Randy Pench/The Sacramento Bee via AP)
Water continues to run down the main spillway at Lake Oroville on Monday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. The water level dropped Monday behind the nation's tallest dam, reducing the risk of a catastrophic spillway collapse and easing fears that prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downstream. Sunday afternoon's evacuation order came after engineers spotted a hole on the concrete lip of the secondary spillway for the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam and told authorities that it could fail within the hour. (Randy Pench/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) – The Latest on problems with an emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

California water officials say cementing rocks in place at the damaged spillways of the nation’s tallest dam is a “short-term and long-term fix.”

Dump trucks and helicopters have dropped thousands of tons of rocks and sandbags to shore up the spillways at Oroville Dam and avoid what could be a catastrophic failure and flood downstream.

Department of Water Resources acting Director Bill Croyle also says the storms this week won’t pose a threat to an emergency spillway other than to slow crews.

National Weather Service forecaster Tom Dang says the first of two storms was expected to be light. The first could bring 2-3 inches of rain Wednesday followed by a smaller accumulation from the second storm.

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12:25 p.m.

California water officials say they’re making “great progress” on the repairs to the damaged spillways of the nation’s tallest dam.

Department of Water Resources acting chief Bill Croyle says Oroville Lake behind the dam is draining rapidly and has dropped some 20 feet since it reached capacity early Sunday and overflowed an emergency spillway.

Croyle says a storm Wednesday appears to be small and that the reservoir’s water levels should keep shrinking.

He says crews “are still removing more water from the reservoir than we would receive from the storm system coming in.”

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12:20 p.m.

A California sheriff has acknowledged that the evacuation below a California dam’s damaged spillway was “chaotic.”

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told nearly 200,000 residents Wednesday to use the time this week before the storms fully move in to prepare for another evacuation if needed. An order to leave was lifted Tuesday.

Some rain has started to fall Wednesday.

Department of Water Resource acting Chief Bill Croyle says the damaged main spillway “has been stable for a number of days.”

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12:15 p.m.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea is telling residents downstream of a California dam’s damaged spillway to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice if the risk of flooding increases.

Honea says “this is still an emergency situation. It’s important for people to be prepared.” Rain had started to fall in the area Wednesday.

Nearly 200,000 people remain under an evacuation warning but an order to leave their homes was lifted Tuesday.

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