Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway.
Workers are hoisting giant white bags filled with rocks, and at least two helicopters will fly them and then release them in the spillway’s erosion. Dump trucks full of boulders also are dumping their cargo on the damaged spillway.
State Department of Water Resources spokesman Chris Orrock says lake levels are also dropping at a rate of 8 feet per day.
The goal is to see the level at 860 feet by Thursday when inflows should begin from the expected storms. Orrock says the lake is currently at 884 feet.
The barrier at the nation’s tallest dam is being repaired after authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people for everyone living below the lake amid concerns the spillway could fail and send water roaring downstream.
A huge Northern California reservoir, held in place by a massive dam, has always been central to the life of the towns around it.
Now the lake that has brought them holiday fireworks and salmon festivals could bring disaster.
Nearly 200,000 people, who evacuated Sunday over fears that a damaged spillway at Lake Oroville could fail and unleash a wall of water, have to stay away indefinitely while officials race to repair it before more rains arrive Thursday.
Evacuees felt strange on Monday to see their beloved lake associated with urgent voices on the national news.