More rainstorms prompt reopening of Oroville Dam spillway

Los Angeles Times

State officials have reopened the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam as another set of rainstorms began moving across Northern California.

Water resumed gushing through the partly collapsed concrete chute Friday morning, said Kristyne Van Skike, who is on the California Department of Water Resources team that’s managing the spillway.

The rainfall Sunday was not strong enough to match the amount of water that was flowing out of the reservoir and into the spillway, she said. Water will continue pouring down the spillway for up to two weeks, depending on how much more rain falls.

On Saturday, the state received bids to fix the spillway at a cost ranging from $275 million to $344 million. State officials hope to award the contract by Tuesday.

Fear of a spillway collapse led authorities to order an emergency evacuation of more than 100,000 people from communities below the dam in February. The order was lifted a few days later.

Even with more rain in the weather forecast, Van Skike said there was no threat to public safety.

“It’s typical for the season,” she said.

The National Weather Service expects showers on and off through Thursday in the Oroville area, but not a large amount of total rainfall.

“It looks like the rest of the systems are relatively weak,” said weather service forecaster Karl Swanberg.

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