Huge Atmospheric River taking aim on Oroville Dam

Huge Atmospheric River taking aim on Oroville Dam

Computermodels indicate a powerful jet stream will continuously pound California over the next ten days, dumping more than 11 inches of rain over the Lake Oroville watershed.

Could add 120 feet to reservoir levels.

According to, the 3,600 sq kilometer watershed will add 120 feet to reservoir levels.

California officials say they are confident the dam will hold. But even if the dam itself holds, if the 120-ft number is correct I don’t see how flooding won’t be even worse than this past weekend.

See entire article:

Super-soaker: Atmospheric River taking aim on beleaguered #OrovilleDam

Thanks to Edward Triple for this link

18 thoughts on “Huge Atmospheric River taking aim on Oroville Dam

  1. Catchment 9.3 x10^9 sq m, lake 6.3×10^7 sq m
    That’s 150 x so 11 inches is 1650 === 137 ft

    Hope they can get the emergency dam side covered up as it’s going to be overflowing? Will the bedrock under it get undermined, that is the question.

  2. I can find almost no discussion on the ‘net about the jet-stream and it’s abnormal southerly meanderings but the various forecasts suggest California is going to be in for higher than average rainfall.
    If I lived down-stream of an old dam I’d be making definite plans to take my family on a holiday somewhere safer and be watching the various web-sites relating to atmospheric weather, space-weather and reservoir levels.

  3. I would hope that people decide to stay away from home a while longer.
    I gather some decided to return when the levels dropped and the immediate emergency level dropped.

  4. Looks like several levy’s and dam’s are in danger of collapse with this approaching sky river. Get the pontoons mounted on those structures Californians or RUN!

  5. Had the greedy Republicans of California been willing to PAY MORE IN TAXES, paid their FAIR SHARE, and paid CARBON TAX, then this would not be happening. The greedy White Republican, Trump supporters, are to blame for refusing to PAY TAX to prevent this. But NO. Rather, these racists, greedy Republicans will force the bill onto the backs of poor, undocumented workers here in America just doing the jobs White Americans won’t do….like building a dam that works!!!

    (For those few who don’t get it, the above is Political Satire, which is actually right on, but I have to be careful so I don’t start a riot)

  6. With 6 more weeks of high rain fall winter to go, the snow pack might just hang around till next winter starts.

    Any bets that the cascade glaciers expand rapidly and further south?

  7. At the time the first sinkhole happened under the spillway, there was a 2.1 earthquake in a direct line northwest of that point – not very far away. “They” aren’t mentioning that.

    The “officials” are playing head games with us. First, they stopped flow through the spillway because it was “too dangerous.” They said they had to trust the emergency spillway that had never been used. The emergency spillway turned out to be pretty bad, because it started eroding the dam itself very close to the top. So, they opened the damaged regular one again – and suddenly it’s OK to use?

    Then they are playing this game of dropping bags of rocks thru 100cfs water flowing across the hole. Like those rocks aren’t simply going to be picked up like toothpicks by the rushing water and carried downstream? If they really wanted to plug that hole, they would shut the valves, stop the flowing water completely, fill the hole, and open the valves again! Since they are just dropping the rocks into moving water, it is clear theatre and they don’t really want to plug the hole.

    So the real question is: why do they want massive calamity in California?

    • Oddly enough, sometimes earthquakes are caused by a large dam. They are supposed to check for known faults before siting a dam, but the weight of that much impounded water can stress out weak geological structures and cause faulting.

      That happened beneath the huge dam in Santa Nella (CA) and then the found that there were liquifiable soils beneath the foundation of the O’Neal Forebay dam (smaller dam just downstream that was built to handle overflow). They had to fix that back in the early 90s.

      I worked on an EIR for a proposed project in Santa Nella back in 1992… where the idiots (the county) were planning on building up the little town of Santa Nella – in the dam inundation area – from about 500 people to over 40K. It was already known that if the smaller dam failed (to say nothing of the larger one)… there could be as much as 100% loss of life in that town since it would be impossible to evacuate with less than 15 minutes notice with a 75 foot wall of water hitting the town.. and that is just if the small dam failed not the much larger one.

      The guy who managed the large dam begged me (somewhat undercover… when I had an interview with his 2nd in command) to stop the project!

      And yes, the pen is mightier than the sword! I wrote a letter to the “owners” of the larger dam (the two dams being a joint project with state and Federal ownership)… as part of my job, describing the proposed project, reminding them of the risk, and asking the state guys to identify what the probability of a catastrophic dam failure would be. I was laid off shortly thereafter… but the town Santa Nella was still at about 500 people last time I checked.

    • …really?? Sorry, guy, but I have had my equipment on jobs like this, and they do not “wash away” they work from one side, just like the Southern Pacific did when the Colorado River changed its course. Oh, you never heard of that, right? Research it! But the the “THEY” you speak of do enough damage, don’t be like the left and try to make what you think is fact. It may not work, but after being on the Villa Park Dam in 1969, and watching a heretofore unused spillway go into action, I think this dam has a good chance of surviving. Not so Oroville. I sold a home in Menifee Ca. because “THEY” built Diamond(formerly Domenigoni) Lake above me. Didn’t Dad tell you,”Never buy bottom land?”

  8. I do hope they get some sort of a cement cap over that emergency spillway since they had pointed out that the erosion had gotten down to the bedrock, which has many fissures in it. The question of where the fissures lead to is unanswerable, so there really is no way of knowing how “sound” the “fractured bedrock” really is and how much water can seep over into the earthen portion of the dam. If a little water makes it, more will follow, and who knows whether that would be enough to compromise the dam’s integrity under maximum capacity.

  9. Time for a corny old song! (Don’t remember whose,… back in the 70s?)

    “It never rains in California… but girl, let me warn ya… it POURS… man, it pours! ”

    So true! At least in southern CA… torrential the rare times when it rains and usually leads to mudslides, bad car crashes, etc.

  10. Remember, Cali has 4 seasons, Earthquake, Fire, Mudslide and Riot! So. Cal gets over 30″ every 7 to 13 years. All kinds of people move in, including news people from the Mid west, and five years later when it POURS they are seen on camera saying “I’ve never see it rain like this!”

  11. re: 1969, 36″ in Orange county, Silverado Canyon Fire Station. 9 people were ordered out of their homes and down to the Fire Station because of the danger of rock hills (very steep) collapsing onto their homes. …oo-oops. When the canyon wall above the Firehouse slid, it killed most of my friends. You can go read the plaque we had put up. Beautiful places to live come with a price!

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