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Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway About to FAIL!!

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The tallest dam in the US, with 4.5 cubic kilometers is about to lose it’s emergency spillway and there is no telling how much water be released.  The dam is 770 feet tall and an amount of water exceeding that of Niagara Falls could have untold effects on the earthen dam.  The erosive power of a huge amount of water falling 770 feet.

According to Jim Stone:

I spent a couple hours going over videos, comments, and pictures with regard to Oroville dam. From what I can see, the hillside below the emergency spillway is better material than what the main spillway went over. However, there are some minor indicators that the emergency spillway has issues. I don’t know how significant they will end up being, but it appears there might be minor erosion happening on the face. And so far, the depth of the water going over it is only about 1 foot 4 inches. If the inflows become significant, I would guess it could have a wall of water 6 feet high going over it. That will be an entirely new ball game.


All the maintenance records on the dam show that the spillway was in perfect condition. Since the initial rupture video shows concrete flying high in the air, I still think the spillway was blown up or sabotaged. This dam has had recent outflows through that spillway of 170, 000 cfs (double Niagra Falls) without issue. For it to self destruct with only 60-70, 000 is a serious reach, I do not believe this was any sort of mishap. Obviously I have no proof of explosives destroying the spillway, or of intentional digging under it by a sabotage crew happened, but can say that is a perfectly rational explanation. Even the engineers are wondering how this happened. That means a LOT.

I have my doubts that this will end well, but also have a fair amount of hope that it will. But this year outflows are likely to reach 300, 000 cfs and with no control over what is going on, well, what can be said? Can the mountain side handle 3-4X Niagra falls? Your guess is as good as mine.

Ultimately it will all depend on how well the materials around the emergency spillway hold up, and how well the spillway itself holds up.

Update from Jim Stone:

There were a few readers who said I reported about the dam too much. I kept on it, because I strongly believe the spillway failure was sabotage. And I did not think they would sabotage the spillway unless they had run endless 3d modeling proving an absolute failure would result. I was confident this failure was the end result of careful modeling and sabotage to make it happen, but did not say it because it sounded too “out there”.

Well, I was a good enough engineer to get the Fukushima report right. Which means it is a given I’d get the dam right. And now, TOO BAD, I’D RATHER BE WRONG but now the emergency spillway is failing also, because it is just too much water to run over a damaged dam. I believe communists in California’s government blew the primary spillway up with explosives. After that, nature would finish the catastrophe. And I believe they carefully planned this out fully, complete with ground penetrating radar scans to prove there would be a horrible end result. That is the type of people that are running California now, I would not put this one inch past them.

Whatever happens now all depends upon how strong the rock in the mountain is that all of this water is going to flow over. Hopefully we will only lose the top 50 feet of water, and not all 770 feet of it. The dam report will be updated regularly in the embedded window.


Jim was spot on with his call, it’ll be interesting to document the actual failure of various features of this dam, especially if the entire water gets released.  We have had record rainfall in Northern California this year, already 2.5 times the normal amounts in some places and this has filled California dams to capacity and beyond.  If you are downstream from the Oroville Dam, you should immediately clear out your home and grab anything of value, especially family and business records, heirlooms, etc.  There are going to be a lot of homes and towns underwater very soon, if this dam breaks.  Get to higher ground immediately!!

Butte County sheriff: “This in NOT A Drill.”

5 p.m.

The Butte County Sheriff’ Office released the following statement on Facebook:

This is an evacuation order.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

A hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill.

Sac Bee coverage HERE.


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    Total 5 comments
    • Pedro

      The image I see in Google Earth of the Oroville dam shows only ONE spillway; and it is built over native (residual) terrain, unlikely to be washed out easily. The reference to an “auxiliary” spillway seems to be false; maybe the whole story is false.

    • truther357

      And Communist Jerry Brown called President Trump for help ( F’ck ‘em) Tell this ‘left-wing’ Jerk to ask Mexico for help..California has more respect for Mexico and their people than the USA and it’s (LEGAL) citizens.

    • highwithaltitude

      Over 130,000 potential evacuations…LIVE FEED BROADCAST LINK BELOW…

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