Feb 21, 2017

Mandatory evacuations ordered in parts of California

Don Pedro Reservoir, California
Monterey, CA
Santa Rosa, CA
The Watchers
Repairs on damaged Oroville Dam spillway on February 19, 2017. Image: CDW
Repairs on damaged Oroville Dam spillway on February 19, 2017. Image: CDW

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of Northern California Monday, February 20, 2017, as another heavy rainmaker slammed the region.

Many rivers in Northern California are at or above flood stage after a series of powerful storms hit the state in recent months. There are reports of flooded streets and trees and debris crashing into roadways. More than a dozen reports of flooding and debris flows have come in Monday from as far south as Monterey and as far north as Santa Rosa, according to The Weather Channel.

Two people have lost their lives Monday morning on a rural road between Oakdale and Waterford after head-on crash due to wet road, bringing the total death toll in California to 9 in just a few days.

On Monday night (local time), an evacuation was ordered by San Joaquin County after a report of a levee breach in a rural area southwest of Manteca. The order to evacuate roughly 500 people was ordered at 19:16 but the breach was eventually halted, the country's Office of Emergency Services reported at 20:45.

The damaged levee is on the San Joaquin River, so water is moving north and east, OES said as reported by The Sacramento Bee. The City of Ripon issued a release saying none of its residents would be affected.

For the first time since 1997, the controlled spillway gates of Don Pedro Reservoir in Tuolumne County were opened Monday afternoon. The outflows from the reservoir were between 18 000 and 22 000 cubic feet per second as of 15:00 local time Monday. The Turlock Irrigation District, providing water to much of California's Central Valley, said the spillway will be open for at least 4 days.


The repair of damaged spillways at the Oroville Dam continues and officials believe the reservoir will be able to withstand this current storm. Rock, aggregate, and cement slurry continue to be placed into areas affected by erosion and this work will continue 24 hours a day, the officials said.

As of 17:00 PST, over 35 000 PG&E customers were without power across Central and Northern California, and the number of power outages across the state was expected to rise into Tuesday, February 21.