Storm: 10 trillion gallons over next 7 days for CA #LakeOroville watershed to get massive amounts of rain

Last week, I said that up to a foot of rain could be seen in the Lake Oroville watershed due to a series of “supersoaker storms” coming through. Now, the largest of the storms is bearing down. Dr. Ryan Maue of WeatherBell says there’s going to be an unbelievable “10 trillion gallons” in the next 7 days as more storms come through.

Excessive rainfall on way to California 4 to 10 inches of rain along coast from Santa Cruz north … same for mountains above Oroville. –Dr. Ryan Maue on Twitter

oroville-rain-forecastResult in California over next 7-days is widespread heavy rain … 5″+ along coast up to 10-12″ at elevation. All told, 10 Trillion gallons –Dr. Ryan Maue on Twitter

10-trillion-gallonsAtmospheric moisture well above normal (150-200%) w/plume to landfall California but look at center of North America (250-400%) spring-like –Dr. Ryan Maue on Twitter

ca-ecmwf

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R. Shearer
February 19, 2017 1:24 pm

I feel like I got gypped, paying $2 for a pint sized bottle at the airport.

Geoff
Reply to  R. Shearer
February 19, 2017 4:59 pm

Big rain coming or not, the main spillway damage will be causing leakage under the main dam wall. This dam is coming down. Time for mass evacuations in a non chaotic manner.

tom elliott
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 5:14 pm

what complete bull shit. Washing away of the main spill way , several hundred yards from the dam, will not wash out the dam EVER. Look at a map some time.

Geoff
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 5:30 pm

It the addition flow at the bottom not where the spillway intended. it will be cutting under the dam. You cannot see it yet but it will be happening.

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 5:52 pm

The spillway almost certainly failed because of seepage from the dam through the rocks beneath the spillway. Photos show this area to have geological structures which could act as conduits. This would have piped the soil between the spillway slab and the rock beneath,causing a cavity, and eventual failure of overlying slab.
Im 99% certain of this.
Dam failure is a different matter.
The more likely scenario is a failure and partial release of the reservoir on the emergency spillway, which is dam-like.

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 5:54 pm

I really hope they are doing a good job of reinforcing the emergency spillway with rip rap before the rain hits.

R. Shearer
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 5:54 pm

Maybe I shouldn’t have joked about what is a precarious situation. However, the damaged section on the main spillway is near bed rock quite far from the lip of the dam. A complete dam failure is not likely.
If high levels of precipitation lead to water spilling over the emergency spillway again, then a partial failure of that section of the dam is possible or likely.

Duncan
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 7:23 pm

I have a lot of confidence in 1960’s engineering. 2000’s management not so much. Lets hope our forefathers had the foresight and seat of the pants redundancy to cover our arses now.
Unfortunately this episode will be sold off as climate change “extreme weather” to cover their arses.

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 7:42 pm

Duncan, so am I. But you wouldn’t run a 1968 Chevvy without changing the oil regularly, and checking fan belts, brakes etc. A 1968 dam also needs regular inspection and maintenance. A photo posted earlier on this site shows vehicles parked on the spillway inspecting a large water seep. This means the failure was entirely predictable.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 7:48 pm

So Geoff dude:
How much will you put in the WUWT tip jar if your “sky is falling & so is the dam” prophesy fails to come to pass by, let’s say March 31, 2017?
Talk is cheap, especially unknowlegable talk.

Jamie
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 7:54 pm

AP it’s probably not piping through the rock and soil…..if this review
Where the case it’s a good chance the levy would have had
Failed. Also there would be seeping water at this location all of the time
This would have been a major concern…..there would have been a serious notification of dam failure.

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 8:00 pm

Jamie see the links I posted below. This area has been seeping for years.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 10:01 pm

https://www.britannica.com/media/full/150337/110358
Earth dams have very wide bases. The Oroville spillway dumps beyond the impervious clay core, which has a concrete base keyed into bedrock.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 10:04 pm

Let me try that again.comment image

Bryan A
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 10:14 pm

Geoff,
Consider that the Dam Structure, that part which was built in the 1960’s and is responsible for holding back the water, is more than twice as deep from front (dam wall side) to back (lake side) at the base as the structure is tall, it is highly unlikely that there is any leakage coming from under the Dam Wall as you indicate. You are either purposefully Fear mongering by posting untruths or are poorly stating what you are trying to say. If you are talking about the Spillway or the area immediately around it, this area is a natural hillside, not a man made part of the Dam Structure, and is subject to groundwater drainage but this shouldn’t be conveyed as Dam Leakage as that isn’t the case.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 10:36 pm

Geoff:
Please stop embarrassing yourself.
First off, the spillway is on the other side of a small mountain from the Dam.
Yes, the dam shoulder rests on one side of that mountain (or really really big hill) but the spillway is on the other side of the peak from the dam. They are two unrelated structures with bedrock between them.
Second, as the picture posted here shows, the dam is incredibly thick at the base and that base includes a concrete footer bonded to bedrock. So don’t expect to get water “cutting under the dam” ever.
BTW, I watched it all be built and I can assure you that the picture is how it was built. Also BTW, that “clay core” that looks so skinny in the picture was wide enough for road graders, compactors, and very large dump trucks to work on it and pass each other. (Though it gets skinny enough at the very top to “only” be about two large dump trucks wide…)
There is NO leakage from the spillway anywhere NEAR the dam
Next up, the spillway is built on top of a natural ridge made of rock. It isn’t “dam like” other than having water on one side and a river on the other. The surface rock does weather, so in a major overtopping it will erode, but under that it is a very solid bedrock for 1500 feet. I’d guess we lose at most 100 feet off the peak of that natural ridge in the case of an overtopping.
@A.P.:
Nope. Seepage under the dam, if any would have to take a hard left turn, go about 1/4 mile through bedrock, and then make a hard right turn, to end up under the spillway. Not going to happen.
What might have happened is 50 years of slow erosion of the landfill under the center part of the spillway chute from precipitation onto the rock fill next to it (backfill after the pour). and potentially also significant water intrusion from a poorly maintained joint in the bed of the spillway allowing water to erode under it. There was a known issue in that location, repaired, and likely not sealed enough.
@R. Shearer:
Nope. The spillway is NOT on the dam. It is separate from the dam and built on a natural rock ridge that is slightly lower than the dam top. This is by design.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to overtop the dam and it is IMPOSSIBLE for any class of spillway failure to damage the dam. (It can flood the powerhouse at the base).
It is possible for the natural ridge to be over topped and erode down to bedrock. The original design docs state that “some damage is expected” in the case of the emergency spillway being used. That means the original Engineers looked at it and figure out it WILL erode (the natural ridge) but not so much as to be catastrophic. (Where that means flooding in Oroville and some of the central valley, but not out of line with historic floods).
Now there is a question of what 50 years of weathering have done to that particular rock type. It is hard and sturdy when deep, but at the surface oxidizes and becomes more friable. After 50 years of being exposed (from the bulldozing / raking / rock breaking process of the spillway build) just how deep is the weak oxidized zone? I would guess about 50 feet to 100 feet max. That leaves about 800 feet of solid sturdy bedrock (as you can see at the break in the concrete spillway…)..
@All:
Please folks, get it clear in your minds that the spillways (regular and emergency) are not on the dam and are separated from it by a natural mountain and built on a natural rock ridge.
Problems on the spillways are NOT problems with the dam. Different structures. Different sides of a 1000 foot mountain.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Geoff
February 19, 2017 11:23 pm

should have built a nuclear power station instead eh griff?
Knew this renewable energy stuff was too dangerous 🙂

Greg
Reply to  Geoff
February 20, 2017 12:35 am

Looks like they have got the water level down to the 850ft level they wanted.comment image
I’m a little surprised that they have not tried to cut the flow and consolidate the broken end of the spillway. They won’t get another window to do that.

MarkW
Reply to  Geoff
February 20, 2017 6:24 am

There’s a ridge of bedrock between the spillway and the dam. Any conceivable erosion will come nowhere close to undermining the dam.

Reply to  Geoff
February 20, 2017 9:15 am

Geoff February 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm
Big rain coming or not, the main spillway damage will be causing leakage under the main dam wall. This dam is coming down.
O.M.G.
Get thee real. A casual but close observation from the Oroville visitor center webcam AND the Oroville dam operational water flow parameters indicates NOTHING of the kind taking place, or about to take place.
The REAL issue, if you had put ANY brain power to it would be the inadequacy of DOWNSTREAM facilities to handle the Oroville dam main spillway discharges (w/o flooding downstream) over 100,000 CFS.
Obviously, you did not apply ANY brain power to this …

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 20, 2017 1:02 pm

EM Smith – reading comprehension appears not to be your strength. Read my comment carefully next time before criticising.

AP
Reply to  Geoff
February 20, 2017 1:05 pm

Your knowledge of hydrogeology is piss poor if you think the seepage would need to take a path underneath the dam wall. That is the least likely source of the seepage.

Bryan A
Reply to  Geoff
February 21, 2017 12:34 pm

Reply to  R. Shearer
February 19, 2017 10:03 pm

“R. Shearer February 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm
I feel like I got gypped”

Would it help you much if we agreed with you? You were gypped.

Jbird
February 19, 2017 1:28 pm

Ever watch a slow motion train wreck? This event could end up costing all of us a lot of money whether we live in California or not.

TG
Reply to  Jbird
February 19, 2017 2:09 pm

Governor water melon Brown soak it up you climate huckster. Now start doing the right thing for California and America for a change!!!

Reply to  TG
February 19, 2017 3:19 pm

Isn’t interesting that no one has mentioned how Jerry’s Choo-Choo construction is holding up, and what the area that is projected to be impacted is doing? Media dropout? I would imagine parts of the path would be impacted..??

RockyRoad
Reply to  TG
February 19, 2017 3:58 pm

…probably more like “parts of the channel”.
Moonbeam was planning on hydro-activated braking now and then, wasn’t he?

David Hughes
Reply to  TG
February 19, 2017 4:32 pm

Moonbeam is the last democrat I voted for. Just think if priorities were in order for those CA politicians, all of this water would not have been wasted. So,sad.

Latitude
Reply to  TG
February 19, 2017 4:36 pm

Didn’t Moonbean secede from the union yet?
..you know, pays more than he gets back, doesn’t need the rest of us….yada yada
Now he’s begging Trump for money!…..LOL

February 19, 2017 1:28 pm

When the levy breaks, they aint no place to go. Go down go down.

Steve Ta
Reply to  Clarence Feinour
February 20, 2017 7:46 am

Stevan Makarevich
Reply to  Steve Ta
February 20, 2017 8:18 am

It’s always great to hear music from the 60s and 70s.
I’m 58, and stopped listening to “new” music in the early 90s. My wife, who’s age is a closely guarded secret, has recently learned about YouTube, and has been rediscovering the music, bands, and performers from the “Age of Aquarius” – Led Zeppelin being one – there was such a variety of music back then – for whatever mood you wish – thank God for recordings, and thank you for the link.

Tom Halla
February 19, 2017 1:29 pm

I hope California survives Jerry Brown with as little damage as possible.

SMC
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 19, 2017 1:37 pm

The chickens are coming home to roost. Hope the majority of Californians are paying attention to the mess their politicians have made of things with their socialist ideals.

Otto Maddox
Reply to  SMC
February 19, 2017 1:42 pm

Didn’t vote for Brown in the ’70s or recently. Time to send in the 82nd Airborne.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  SMC
February 19, 2017 2:52 pm

Otto Maddox February 19, 2017 at 1:42 pm
No the Marines, they already have boats.
And it would not be “nice” to drop the 82nd into a flooded area again (June 6th 1944)
michael 🙂

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  SMC
February 19, 2017 9:51 pm

Socialists always blame their catastrophic failures on “not enough Socialism.”

Griff
Reply to  SMC
February 20, 2017 4:01 am

Socialism causes heavy rain? If only the desert regions of the world knew…

MarkW
Reply to  SMC
February 20, 2017 6:31 am

Griffie, it really is sad the way your prostitute yourself to defend your various religions.
No socialism does not cause rain, and nobody other than yourself has tried to make that claim.
What socialism does do, is take things that work, and destroy them. Such as economies.
What socialism does do, is take money from things that need it, in order to spend it one the whims of politicians.

Mike G
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 19, 2017 3:58 pm

The Newsom idiot is probably next. He’s probably worse than Brown.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Mike G
February 19, 2017 10:49 pm

You mean “Galloping Nuisance?” as I used to call him? (Gavin Newsom…)

RACookPE1978
Editor
February 19, 2017 1:38 pm

I help moderate an Engineering Tips reference site ( http://www.eng-tips.com ) for the world’s engineering professionals that has been monitoring this problem for several days now.
A writer yesterday showed a 3D model of the Oroville Dam and its spillway that was built from a 3D modeling tool using the site elevations and distances. It interactively shows the heights and falls of the 2 spillways, the intermediate hillside separating the spillway from the dam itself, and the 1000 foot canyon the dam spans.
See the full discussion here:
http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=420883
And the 3d Model of the spillway here:
https://sketchfab.com/models/a2e069b5196945b79d9487c2730cbcac

Michael Carter
Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 19, 2017 4:04 pm

Excellent!, thank you. I will have hours playing with this 🙂

Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 19, 2017 4:06 pm
Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 19, 2017 6:00 pm

+10

JohnKnight
Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 19, 2017 6:51 pm

Thanks, RACook . . a picture worth ten thousand words ; )

Jean Parisot
Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 19, 2017 8:10 pm

Thank you. One post provides more information than days of media churn. This and the old repair/inspection photo are invaluable. The geologic structure of the lip of the emergency spillway is another key data point I’d like to see.

Jay Dunnell
Reply to  RACookPE1978
February 20, 2017 5:29 am

Absolutely amazing! And it can be 3D printed??!!

Hugh Dietz
February 19, 2017 1:42 pm

Hope it doesn’t happen. Every forecast is subject to error/revision. Politicians are trying to get elected, not kill people.

Reply to  Hugh Dietz
February 19, 2017 2:41 pm

Politicians are trying to get elected and people are only coincidental. Look at what happened to Detroit over the last 50 years or what is happening in Chicago right now.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 7:51 pm

Or Flint, MI

Lil Fella from OZ
February 19, 2017 1:52 pm

I thought we weren’t going to get anymore rain. That is what the ‘experts’ said in Aus. I am sure you have heard it in the US too.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Lil Fella from OZ
February 20, 2017 3:24 am

yeah Cali was looking at a 100yr drought they said…
rather like flimflamflannery here
redfaced?
they should be
however they seem to be so delusional they think we wont remember

Reply to  ozspeaksup
February 20, 2017 4:56 am

Your memory isn’t official or peer reviewed from the holy church of AGW. In a couple of weeks they will produce a paper that was predicting the rain event in Oz and Kalifornia.

February 19, 2017 2:07 pm

It’s a good job that is 10 trillion US gallons and not 10 trillion real gallons.

SMC
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 19, 2017 2:14 pm

Imperial Gallons, US Gallons… I think once you get over the 1 trillion gallon mark, it doesn’t matter much what units you use.

Auto
Reply to  SMC
February 20, 2017 1:07 pm

SMC
I can drink a trillion picolitres of wine. Each night. And my doctor wishes I would not do so!
So, I will change . . . .
Auto

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 19, 2017 2:42 pm

Phillip, are you an Imperialist?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 19, 2017 3:44 pm

What’s that in CFS? and can they keep the main spillway open to collect the incoming? I also heard that the Shasta dam could actually be a bigger problem in the next week.

SMC
Reply to  asybot
February 19, 2017 4:28 pm
E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  asybot
February 19, 2017 10:53 pm

1 Cubic Foot = 7.48051948 Gallons [Fluid, US]
1 Cubic Foot = 6.42851159 Gallons [Dry, US]
1 Cubic Foot = 6.22883545 Gallons [UK]
From: http://www.asknumbers.com/CubicFeetToGallon.aspx
BTW, the U.S. fluid gallon is based on the UK Wine Gallon… we just didn’t measure much liquids other than Wine 😉

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  asybot
February 20, 2017 12:05 pm

Gallons in and cubic feet per second out. Can’t we please just cubic meters for both? Easy to convert to tons of water, too.

usexpat
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 19, 2017 5:06 pm

Gallons?? Should have been put into understandable units like number of Olympic swimming pools or for those down under, Sydney Harbors.
s/

Reply to  usexpat
February 19, 2017 6:34 pm

Manhattans. Cubic Manhattans?
[The mods are willing to help, but must ask: “What sized glass holds the cubic Manhattan?” .mod]

Javert Chip
Reply to  usexpat
February 19, 2017 7:53 pm

Plainly this takes some off-site group research; we’ll get back to you later…

RayG
Reply to  usexpat
February 19, 2017 10:10 pm

You have a rye sense of humor.

Jay Dunnell
Reply to  usexpat
February 20, 2017 5:39 am

Just shy of 48,000 acre-ft of water. with lake at ~25 sq mi, that’s about 3 foot rise…more than capable of handling it now.

Hugs
Reply to  usexpat
February 20, 2017 6:16 am

In 7 or more dimensions, a cubic Manhattan may have an incredibly small diameter. In 6 dimensions, it is miles wide, though. However, I have difficulty imagining that until you friendly convert it to the unit price of a beer jug. I’m told the meters and cubic meters/s are easy to visualise, until someone tells it is a “trillion” m³ and I start to ponder whether it was 1e18 or 1e12. And at that point, my green friends tell me they don’t read exponential notation. And then they’ll tell the numbers were unprecedented, so they don’t need to care about the details.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  usexpat
February 20, 2017 8:39 am

@jay
You are off by a factor of 1,000. Approximately 31 million acre-feet. Unless you use scientific or engineering notation, most hand calculators won’t accept an input of 10 trillion. Assuming you got the equivalent level increase, that’s 3,000 feet. It’s not clear from this post if the Oroville dam watershed is expecting 10 trillion gallons or it’s the entire state.

Martin A
Reply to  usexpat
February 21, 2017 1:13 am

Better to express the coming rainfall in Orofulls.

Old Woman of the North
February 19, 2017 2:24 pm

Having been through floods in Australia my thoughts are with those trying to think of solutions. Water is heavy stuff and goes where it will.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Old Woman of the North
February 19, 2017 11:52 pm

What the hell should do cavitation to a concrete building –
https://youtu.be/ON_irzFAU9c

NW sage
Reply to  Old Woman of the North
February 20, 2017 4:41 pm

Ain’t gravity wonderful? Where would we be without it?

Bill J
February 19, 2017 2:24 pm
AP
Reply to  AP
February 19, 2017 7:58 pm

The other thing evident in the photo of where the hole first appeared is the lovely green vegetation beside the spillway in this zone indicates the seepage through the rock in this area had been there for quite some time.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  AP
February 19, 2017 10:56 pm

Try “seepage through the slab joints” and you will be closer…
Were it “seepage through the rock” you would have a whole mountainside wet, not just under the spillway.

Chris4692
Reply to  AP
February 20, 2017 8:24 am

Note that there is seepage in this joint, but not those joints downhill. The spillway slab in this steeper portion is constructed on a granular fill. That granular fill is drained by a system of drains. That there is seepage indicates that the drainage is either overwhelmed from the wet conditions and the drainage from above or has plugged. The granular fill continues to the bottom of the spillway. Even though the drainage system is overwhelmed in this location, water below the slab should drain through the granular material, preventing it from becoming saturated at this point. It is blocked by something, perhaps a rock outcropping up to the bottom of the slab that prevents the water from moving.
This is not a failure of the joint, it is a failure of drainage. Joint sealing methods from the 1960’s would not be able to withstand more than a slight pressure from below.
Views showing the spillway working at 100,000 cfs show the water moving around the lower part of the spillway, deflected by something. Likely the hypothesized outcropping. Granular material under the slab would have been blasted away by the water long ago if not protected by a solid rock outcrop or something similarly solid.
The significance is that with hydraulic pressure from drainage higher on the hill connected to saturated conditions below the slab there would have been a significant upward force (buoyancy) lifting the slab. It would only take a few feet of water pressure from below to dislodge the slab and cascade into the failure seen.
Though there are other possible modes of failure that must be examined, and each has to include a consideration of “why now and not before?” This seems to me to be the most likely.

AP
Reply to  AP
February 20, 2017 1:09 pm

EM, once again, not sure where you obtained your civil engineering or hydrogeology training but your knowledge is lacking.

AP
Reply to  AP
February 20, 2017 1:11 pm

Chris, the earlier photos posted by Anthony appeared to show the slab sitting more or less directly on friable soil. If a drainage layer was present, it was not obvious in the photos.

AP
Reply to  AP
February 20, 2017 1:21 pm

Sorry, Chris the other thing evident in those photos posted by Anthony is that there is significant geological structure in the rock below the spillway where the seepage was evident in the earlier photo. This would help to explain why the seepage was evident in that location and not immediately further down the spillway.
Regardless of the actual failure mechanism, it is near 100% certain that the seepage from gelolgically structured rock beneath the spillway is the root cause.
The dam filling would have increased seepage rates due to increased driving head and may have caused a piping failure. Your point about an upward force bebeath the spillway is extremely valid as well. Cudos.

Chris4692
Reply to  AP
February 21, 2017 8:39 am

AP: The design review conducted in 1974 states that the spillway was 15 inch thick reinforced concrete constructed on granular fill with a drainage system. It also says that the slab was anchored to the rock.

Chris 4692
Reply to  Bill J
February 20, 2017 4:41 am

If it was cavitation, why did it not show the previous times the spillway was used?

February 19, 2017 2:25 pm

As calculated both earlier here and elsewhere, 10 inches in the watershed is dicy. 12 is a lot worse. They have the lake down near 850, but have not yet cleared the debris bar in order to be able to use the power station 14000CFS discharge. And doubtful the damaged main spilway will be run above 100000CFS for fear of back erosion. That has to hold. Lot will depend how much of this precip falls as snow. If a lot falls as rain on snow, the situation becomes dire in a hurry.

Roger Knights
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 3:32 pm

I appreciate your focus on the debris, and your expertise on this matter generally. YOU ought to be the president’s science adviser.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
February 19, 2017 3:34 pm

PS: Why aren’t the dam authorities better prepared to clear the debris? Did they think they were in a long-term drought period and wouldn’t need a lot of debris-clearing capacity?

R. Shearer
Reply to  Roger Knights
February 19, 2017 5:57 pm

Roger, most of the debris was the result of the initial spillway damage.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Roger Knights
February 19, 2017 10:58 pm

To clear the debris needs large barge mounted equipment which is bring brought up.
There isn’t normally debris there, as noted, it was the washout on the hillside and loss of spillway that deposited debris. You usually don’t expect that…

Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 3:47 pm

Ristvan, Is the main spillway in any way separated from the dam by a rock barrier and does it exit below the the dam itself. I looked at the 3d but for me hard to tell the elevation differences.

Reply to  asybot
February 19, 2017 5:00 pm

The main spillway is separated from the dam by a mountain side that is at least partly fairly solid bedrock. You can see this at two points: at the top, where the (viewed from below) right side upper spillway was cut by drilling and blasting of black rock, and at the bottom where the break flows right of rock to right of spillway that has not crumbled (and is also black,like at the top. That the water flows white says no more erosion scour is happening at the bottom. The spillway exit is into the diversion pool at the bottom of the actual earthen dam, which is why the debris bar is posing a problem for the powerhouse located at that level but inside the mountain. Cut a channel through the debris bar, open the powerhouse penstock, and the water will erode the remaining debris bar some. (obviously not the big concrete chunks or boulders, but the mid and sand soil.)

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  asybot
February 19, 2017 11:03 pm

I put a comment above describing that the spillways are built on a natural ridge of rock with a 1000 foot tall or so mountain (really big hill to folks not from Texas or Kansas) between the spillways and the dam.
There is a fairly long chunk of river back to the powerhouse, that is built into the opposite side of the dam / hillside. It has water too high at the moment so if they opened it up, the powerhouse would flood. Once debris is cleared, the pool will drop, and it can be opened, BUT:
They can’t run the generators without power lines active and attached to provide sync and a place for the power to go, and those power lines go over the spillways and one of the towers is at risk of erosion…
It is only about 13,000 CFS of water, though, so not a huge add.

nc
Reply to  asybot
February 20, 2017 1:19 am

E. M. Smith, the generators can be run without generating power but water flow will greatly reduced. Think of low fuel flow with an idling engine.
If the power line fails some water can still be discharged through the powerhouse but at a reduced rate. The debris in the river will most likely have to be cleared first.

Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 6:04 pm

The Feather River drainage is approximately around the spot marked. Note where the surface winds are coming from. That has warmed the entire northern area up. …https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=238.25,41.44,3000/loc=-121.076,40.091

NW sage
Reply to  ristvan
February 20, 2017 4:57 pm

Re: operating the generators. Late last week at least one of the news reports from the area reported that the generators of the power station could NOT be run because the transmission line to the grid was/is down NOT because of any debris concern (Although debris may now be an issue) If true the power connection which is the ONLY way the turbine inlets can be opened is unusable because of the various spillway issues than that is truly ironic.
To restate, the pipes carrying water to the turbines cannot be opened because to do so without the generators connected to a load would destroy the generators (and the turbines) from over-speed. And the flooding of the spillway(s) and those failures has lead to the inoperable condition of the transmission lines with the result that the generators cannot be run. Result – a significant increase in the volume to be handled by the spillways and therefore increased risk of downstream damage from flooding.

Pop Piasa
February 19, 2017 2:28 pm

10,000,000,000,000 US gal lqd= 3.785412e+10m³
almost 3.8 billion cubic meters… am I correct?

Reply to  Pop Piasa
February 19, 2017 2:48 pm

What is that in furlong-inches per fortnight?

SMC
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 2:57 pm

Jon, you need to clarify your question a little. A furlong (220 yards) and inches (36″ per yard) are both measurements of length, so you can calculate volume. a fortnight (2 weeks) is a measurement of time. So, my question is, do you want volume or rate? 🙂

Scottish Sceptic
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 3:06 pm

Let’s not be stupid, surely it must be gills per lunar month … for this lunacy!

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 3:13 pm

“The All Button” just won in a photo at Santa Anita (5-2).
Millimeters at the wire, gotta love it.

SMC
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 3:16 pm

Oh come on Scottish Sceptic, you really want to break down a rate measurement into 1/2 cups per 29.5 days?
[Well, 0.5 cup/29.5 day = 0.007415625 standard US gallons/week … x 10 trillion, right? .mod]

Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 3:51 pm

liquid volume is measured in firkins

SMC
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 4:03 pm

@mod,
Something along those lines;)… Haven’t actually done the math yet for Scottish Sceptic…
But, if my math is correct (big IF) and assuming 7 days…
it works out to 2.30998X10e15 cubic inches
4.9551X10e10 cubic yards
9.9102X10e10 cubic yards/fortnight
4.61X10e15 cubic inches/fortnight
4653.55 cubic furlongs
9307.11 cubic furlongs/fortnight

SMC
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 4:09 pm

Geez vukcevic, cant we keep things simple ?:))

Editor
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Jon Jewett asked:
February 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm
> What is that in furlong-inches per fortnight?
Bzzt, that’s area per time, that’s not what we’re talking about.
If you want furlong x inch x inch, a long skinny square, the current 100 kcfs flow is a lot of those:
sl:~$ units
2526 units, 72 prefixes, 56 nonlinear units
You have: 100 kcfs
You want: furlong in^2/fortnight
* 2.6391273e+10
/ 3.7891314e-11
More reasonable would be something like acre-feet, i.e. square furlong inches, i.e. something more relatable to rain falling over a sizable area, that’s:
You have: 100 kcfs
You want: furlong^2 in/s
* 2.7548209
/ 0.363
So the current flow is 2.75 furlong^2 in/s. That’s a lot of water! The surface area is 25 mi^2, right? That’s a lot of furlongs^2:
You have: furlong
You want: ft
* 660
/ 0.0015151515
You have: 25 mi^2
You want: furlong^2
* 1600
/ 0.000625

Janice The American Elder
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 5:36 pm

Jon, those units just don’t make any sense. Obviously you meant to say firkins per fortnight, I’m sure.

SMC
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 5:48 pm

Ah geez… just multiply by 2/9 if you want firkins/fortnight. Can’t we keep the math simple.:))

Ian H
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 7:25 pm

Well obviously you have to first convert the fortnights into a measure of distance using the speed of light, which is, as we all know
c = 9.9145×10^13 fathoms per week.
Complicated I know. It looks better in base 17.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 19, 2017 11:09 pm

In college, a friend was bored silly with intro Physics, so on one problem calculated the correct answer in furlongs per fortnight. As he showed his work and got the right answer, he got is usual A. (He did also show a conversion to metric at one point, IIRC).
He later got his Ph.D. in Physics…
So I can now say that Ph.D. Physicists do calculations in furlongs per fortnight and be correct… (Things you do when finishing the test early… )

Mark
Reply to  Jon Jewett
February 20, 2017 4:39 pm

5 stone

joelobryan
Reply to  Pop Piasa
February 19, 2017 2:57 pm

Yep, but HA! Just a mere 38 Pg of water. (38 petagrams)

Ghowe
Reply to  joelobryan
February 19, 2017 6:41 pm

About 137 Pg, but whose counting past 1

joelobryan
Reply to  joelobryan
February 19, 2017 8:20 pm

1 US gallon by mass = 3770 grams = 3.8E+03 g
So there are : 3.8E+03 g / gallon.
and,
10 x10^12 gallons = 1E+13 gals
Multiplying,
1E+13 gals x 3.8E+03 g / gal = 3.8E+16 g = 38 x 10^15 g = 38 Pg

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  joelobryan
February 19, 2017 8:20 pm

How many megabits of flotsam per nanosecond?

joelobryan
Reply to  joelobryan
February 19, 2017 9:53 pm

That is,
38 Pg H2O (L) = 32 Gigatonnes (GT, metric) of H2O water vapor
= 32 GT of a strong GHG from just this one storm over a small regional area.
Compare that to:
Anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2016 were in toto = ~10 Gt.
Half of which were rapidly removed. And the climatist-alarmists worry about GHG balance in the troposheric atmosphere?
Anthropogenic CO2 is not even a rounding error on the total GHG component of the lower troposphere atmosphere when water vapor variance is considered.

Leo Smith
Reply to  joelobryan
February 19, 2017 11:35 pm

almost 7 terabytes of faux news with an information content of 7 bits

Sandyb
Reply to  joelobryan
February 20, 2017 5:25 am

Let’s not forget cubits.

eyesonu
Reply to  joelobryan
February 20, 2017 10:38 am

Sandyb
That’s the standard for measuring small mouth bass prior to release. One a cubit is a nice one to judge others by. A cubit and a quarter is a whopper!
Note: My cubit is from bottom of elbow to tip of middle finger (on the same arm of course). 😉

taxed
February 19, 2017 2:30 pm

Between next Friday and Saturday its looking like things could get very bad indeed,as there will be a “ice age pattern” forming in the NE Pacific.
High pressure will form in the NE Pacific which will be driving warm air up into the Arctic over Alaska, but pushing cold air from northern Canada down across NW USA and over the Pacific to the west of the USA. With this cold air moving from the NE over the Pacific meeting up with warm moist moving westwards. Will set up a very powerful slow moving storm which will track over the California area.

taxed
Reply to  taxed
February 19, 2017 2:36 pm

Sorry l mean “warm moist air moving eastwards”

Reply to  taxed
February 19, 2017 6:09 pm

Slow is when the real floods take place in the state, as in the winter of 1996/97. The storms stuck in place and the rain fell for around 31 days before it was over.

taxed
Reply to  taxed
February 20, 2017 2:54 am

Updated jet stream forecast suggests this storm may not be as strong as it first looked.
The high pressure that will cause the cold air to flow across the Pacific to feed this storm. Now looks like it will weaken quickly, so cutting off this supply of cold air off quicker then expected. But the west coast of the USA can still expect heavy rain/snow. As this slow moving low will move down along the coast rather then across it.

Gunga Din
February 19, 2017 2:34 pm

To help put things into perspective, how many square miles is the watershed?
Not to sound like I’m downplaying anything. I’m sure that you’re thinking more in terms of what the spillways can handle. To start with 10 trillion gallons from 4-10 inches of rain seems to need another value to avoid sounding “alarmist” rather that genuinely alarming.

Gunga Din
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
February 19, 2017 2:47 pm

Thanks!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 19, 2017 2:48 pm

I’ll join you in calling for more data on watershed statistics. how much precip per square mile is this? How much of it will pass through the dam?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
February 19, 2017 2:50 pm

Oops, should have waited. Thanks from here, too!

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 19, 2017 11:12 pm

The useful rule of thumb metric is that the watershed is about 144 times the lake area, so just take precipitation ‘thickness’ and multiply by 144 to get lake hight change. 6 inches of rain raises the lake about 72 feet. ( 1/2 foot x 144 ).

Resourceguy
February 19, 2017 2:41 pm

This news would not be permitted under the old regime.

Ted
February 19, 2017 2:46 pm

It needs to be pointed out that all this weather we are having is the exact OPPOSITE of what the climate models predicted, and it it because California followed the guidance of those models that we are in the woefully unprepared spot we are right now.

Barry L.
February 19, 2017 2:46 pm

From AlphaVideo… SPILLWAY BLOWN OUT Oroville Dam As Of 2/18/2017 WOW

CNC
Reply to  Barry L.
February 19, 2017 4:50 pm

Is that gunite in the video? If so I am impressed as that could help a lot is the emergency spillway is needed. Maybe someone has they stuff together.
It also looks like the broken main spillway has eroded down to bedrock which is good as well.

Reply to  CNC
February 19, 2017 5:09 pm

No. it is quarry rock from about 30 miles away (apparently a metamorphic greenstone), grouted into place with lots of concrete from a batching plant about 20 miles away. Massive logistics problem onto the dam access roads. A real scramble.

CNC
Reply to  CNC
February 19, 2017 6:24 pm

Thanks ristvan.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  CNC
February 19, 2017 11:20 pm

FYI, the bedrock there, as described here:
https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-6
is:

“The foundation rocks at the site are entirely metamorphics and while appearing to be largely mega igneous may contain meta volcanics and meta-sediments. The terms amphibolite, amphibolite schist and greenstones are applicable generally to this type of rock. … The rock exposed in the channel area should prove suitable for overpoured spillway if moderately protected.”

which references this link:
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/exhibits/docs/RestoretheDelta/RTD_101.pdf
as the original source.
Amphibolite is a nice sturdy rock, but rapidly weathers when exposed to water and oxygen, so the surface rock is a bit weak and rotted, but deeper is hard.

Neo
February 19, 2017 2:52 pm

Looks like Atascadero really is a “muddy place”

co2islife
February 19, 2017 2:58 pm

There is a morality story somewhere here. I think is has to do with 7 fat cows and 7 starving cows. Had California not run every Christian out of their state they might have been aware of one of the oldest stories known to man. Funny how those that ignore history seem to repeat it.
Hey California!!!, Wind and Solar Don’t Work in a Flood
https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/hey-california-wind-and-solar-dont-work-in-a-flood/comment image

Juan Slayton
Reply to  co2islife
February 19, 2017 6:19 pm

Well, the outcome of that story suggests total government control of the food supply, if not the whole economy. Good for the Egyptians of the time (saved them from starvation) but I wouldn’t care to go there.

co2islife
Reply to  Juan Slayton
February 19, 2017 6:27 pm

LOL, yea, I was more focused upon the first part. The preparing for the famine. Maybe the Noah story would have been a better selection.

Reply to  Juan Slayton
February 20, 2017 5:18 pm

That was an aspect of that time period. There were no large corporations or business interests to aid the masses. It was the government or forage for yourself. That didn’t leave any room for alternatives, outside of prophetic intervention.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 2:24 am

Juan Slayton,
the ancient Egyptian Culture lead by billionaires left tonnes of gold in the tombs / pyramids of their rich leaders, Lebanon cedar trees shown on the national flag but Lebanons mountains deforrested and the near east stricken in wars.
Want to go ahead with ideologies?

co2islife
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
February 20, 2017 5:36 am

Ok, Ok, I get it, let’s use the Noah analogy, or any countless other stories from the Bible.

ralfellis
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 7:14 am

Joseph’s famine relief was not altruistic. Because of it, Joseph ended up getting a 20% tax on all the produce of Egypt, and became the richest person in the nation. The moral of the story is that people in need can easily become your serfs.
R

Gunga Din
Reply to  ralfellis
February 20, 2017 12:27 pm

Better read a bit more carefully….
Genesis 47
14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.
……….
20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them:so the land became Pharaoh’s.
……….
23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.
26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.
Joseph was NOT the Pharaoh.

co2islife
February 19, 2017 3:00 pm

When the Johnstown dam broke, the Marxists ceased the opportunity to blame the greedy capitalists. Who are they going to blame for this failure? Certainly not the incompetent government.
[??? The Johnstown flood actually greatly INCREASED (if not served as the beginning focus) on an ever-rising tide of hatred and millionaire-envy that ended in the 1910-1920 era of Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and the trust-busting anti-capitalism that today spawns the hatred-envy-lust of the socialist left. .mod]

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  co2islife
February 19, 2017 4:56 pm

They will blame global warming/climate change for the extreme weather.

Elisa Berg
Reply to  co2islife
February 19, 2017 5:41 pm

Maybe Ronald Reagan.

Reply to  co2islife
February 19, 2017 6:34 pm

I sure hope it holds. I can’t see the snowflakes pitching sandbags downstream, and if their parent’s basements flood they won’t have anywhere to live.

co2islife
Reply to  R2Dtoo
February 19, 2017 6:46 pm

LOL,…..I was drinking a Soda when I read that and laughed it out of my nose. Basement dwelling snowflakes, you gotta love it.

eyesonu
Reply to  R2Dtoo
February 20, 2017 11:01 am

R2Dtoo
As social justice warriors they have a simple answer for that, they will just move in with you! 😉

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 9:24 am

Well in this case, blame rightly fell on the “greedy capitalists.” The dam was a private structure and not long before its failure an engineer had done a report for the owners detailing serious maintenance/structural issues. The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was never held accountable for the destruction wrought by their carelessness.

co2islife
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 20, 2017 9:34 am

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Was the Army responsible for the previous flood? Was FDR responsible for the later flood? The dam was a known threat to society, it had already broken once before. If the government with its unlimited resources couldn’t maintain is, it is pure insanity to think a Hunting Club could. Never in the history of man should that responsibility ever have been turned over to a private hunting club. It was a Hunting Club, not a public works maintenance company. Should the Hunting Club also have been maintaining the roads, sewers and all other PUBLIC GOODS and SERVICES?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 20, 2017 10:47 am

The state never owned the dam, it was private property from the beginning. The hunting club, by purchasing the property, was accepting responsibility for all the assets, including the dam. They made structural changes to the dam that increased the risk to the general public; that is not in dispute. The argument can be made that the state should have had some regulatory oversight that could have mitigated the risk. Most, if not all states do have such oversight in place for private dams, but that was then and this is now.

Td
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 20, 2017 6:01 pm

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/12/oroville-dam-feds-and-state-officials-ignored-warnings-12-years-ago/
“Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.
The groups filed the motion with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They said that the dam, built and owned by the state of California, and finished in 1968, did not meet modern safety standards …”
Did I miss a sarc tag?

co2islife
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 20, 2017 6:13 pm

The state never owned the dam, it was private property from the beginning. The hunting club, by purchasing the property, was accepting responsibility for all the assets, including the dam.

That is absolute nonsense. There was a public interest in maintaining that dam. The Army maintained it before the Hunting Club. It had already flooded. It had already broken. The threat to the public had already been established. The State simply can’t sell away its liability, that is absurd. That is a public works project. Private entities don’t build and maintain dams, read Section 1 Article 8 Enumerated Powers Clause of the US Constitution.
1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;

TD
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 21, 2017 9:55 am

My apologies. I missed the indentation on my phone and didn’t catch that the topic was still on the Johnstown dam.

MarkW
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 12:12 pm

I believe you meant seized (as in grabbed) instead of ceased (as in stopped).

co2islife
Reply to  MarkW
February 20, 2017 2:48 pm

Yep, sorry.

NW sage
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 5:20 pm

Blame? the Marxists of course!

co2islife
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 6:17 pm

Ooooops

When the Johnstown dam broke, the Marxists ceased the opportunity to blame the greedy capitalists. Who are they going to blame for this failure? Certainly not the incompetent government.

Should have read:
When the Johnstown dam broke, the Marxists siezed the opportunity to blame the greedy capitalists. Who are they going to blame for this failure? Certainly not the incompetent government.

willhaas
February 19, 2017 3:02 pm

For us in California this is good news for we are in a drought and we need every drop we can get. They keep telling us that it will still take many years to replinish the water table. Hence they need to use this extra water to flood farm and ranch land where the water can seep back onto the water table. Baybe they can use the excess water to reestablish Lake Tulare to be what it one was, the largest body of fresh water in the lower 48, west of the Mississippi. As far as I know, we are still under water use restrictions where I live in Southern California. I am still saving rain water coming off my roof for later use in watering my garden.

EW3
Reply to  willhaas
February 19, 2017 6:06 pm

Good news, but sad news.
Dumping 10 trillion gallons into the Pacific seems a huge waste.
If dams were in place to save even 25% of this water, there would not be a drought for quite a few years.
What a waste.
Californians should be aware:
http://www.mercurynews.com/2014/01/25/california-drought-past-dry-periods-have-lasted-more-than-200-years-scientists-say/

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  EW3
February 19, 2017 8:33 pm

Just tell the Left that if they don’t build better dams and reservoirs in California, all that water is just going to fill up the already rising oceans, which will inundate them anyway.

James at 48
Reply to  EW3
February 21, 2017 1:16 pm

The good sites already have dams. To retain flood waters more than we do at present, some sorts of low elevation structures would be needed. One concept is to expand the network of bypasses and route them differently. Instead of bypassing the water to the Delta / Bay, bypass it to additional bypasses that function like wetlands, similar to the Everglades. Those waters could be moved south slowly while enhancing wildlife. Obviously there would need to be step up pumping at certain intervals to make the water “flow uphill” (e.g. southward along the length of the San Joaquin Valley). That’s how the California Aqueduct does it. Use a similar process.

co2islife
February 19, 2017 3:03 pm

George Bush had 1 week to prepare for Rita and Katrina, and the liberals went ape nuts over his “failure” to properly handle the crisis. California has had years and did nothing. Liberals won’t raise a peep.

Javert Chip
Reply to  co2islife
February 19, 2017 8:17 pm

Yea, but they’re getting a 24-stop hi-speed train from San Jose to Barstow.
I would pay a lot of money to watch a 187MPH train come down the center of Modesto on a week-day.
Ok, I made up the 187MPH part – does anybody know how fast a hi-speed train really is?

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Javert Chip
February 19, 2017 11:24 pm

Um, last I heard the high speed rail when from nowhere in the Central Valley (near Stockton) to nowhere in the Central Valley (near Bakersfield) and didn’t get anywhere near San Jose… We haven’t even got BART yet…

Leo Smith
Reply to  Javert Chip
February 19, 2017 11:42 pm

isn’t 300mph the record? no more than that..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_rail_vehicles

co2islife
Reply to  Javert Chip
February 20, 2017 5:34 am

I don’t know, but how does it handle a flood?

MarkW
Reply to  Javert Chip
February 20, 2017 12:19 pm

Wonder how it will handle a school bus stuck on the tracks?

MarkW
Reply to  co2islife
February 20, 2017 12:18 pm

FEMA’s has always stated that it will take them 3 days after a disaster is over to arrive on-site in large numbers.
After Katrina, they were on site 3 days after the winds stopped blowing.
It has been always the state and local authorities who are responsible for those first three days.
It was the state and local authorities who failed completely to do their jobs. Not the federal authorities.
Of course since the state was run by a Democrat woman and the city by a black Democrat, it was impossible for the MSM to blame either of them.
So they decided to blame the hated Bush, for not doing what he wasn’t responsible for doing.
Beyond that, the president can’t call up the national guard unless requested by the governor. And she was way late in doing that.

co2islife
Reply to  MarkW
February 20, 2017 2:47 pm

Sad but true. The complete lack of accountability on the left is appalling, but as long as finding excuses and deflecting blame are qualities rewarded on the left, nothing will ever change…or so I thought until Trump got elected. It appears not as many people were fooled as Democrats thought,

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 19, 2017 3:12 pm

Here’s a recent update from the County Supervisor:

 The County’s new Incident Action Plan covers the week through Friday.
Cooperators Meeting Update 2.18.17 @ 1000
Basically the same as yesterday. All work is proceeding well.
 Priorities include:
o Continuing work on the emergency spillway – all stakeholders feel it is going well.
o Debris removal taking place in multiple locations from land to build what DWR is referring to as the “low flow channel” to get water around the large debris piles at the bottom of the primary spillway.
o Elevation of water at the Hyatt power plant has been lowering so that water is not going into the plant – once the “low flow channel” is in, that level will continue to decrease.
 Construction and repairs continue on the emergency/auxiliary spillway. The weather is not stopping the progress, though it may be slowed down periodically.
 No further erosion has been seen on or near the primary spillway. It is being monitored and evaluated 24/7.
 PG&E continues to relocate lines below the spillway. Anticipate being completed by Tuesday.
 Lake elevation at 9 AM was 852.30 feet. Only two feet from the 850 goal.
 Current inflow approximately 45,000 cfs. DWR anticipates it will peak on Tuesday morning at flows that could exceed over 100,000 cfs. The average inflow over the next several days could be around 68,000 on Monday and Tuesday. Outflows are expected to stay at 55,000, but could be adjusted upwards as necessary. DWR is extremely confident that the lake can easily hold the expected precipitation through the Tuesday storms. The lake may get above the 850 level, but they expect nothing even resembling a problem.
Weather.
Today will be mainly showers with intensity picking up tonight and tomorrow. Expected 2-4 in the Oroville area in the valley through Tuesday. Overall basin could receive 5-9 inches total through Tuesday, but much will come as snow, and lake levels are such as to handle the increased flows. Snow levels start at 4,000 this evening and will rise to 7,000 tomorrow before coming down to 4,000 again late Monday and Tuesday. Winds will be very high over the next few days with winds gusting to 25 tonight…30 plus tomorrow morning and up to 50 mph winds Monday evening.
All in all a god day to stay in.

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 19, 2017 3:21 pm

Snow = delayed rain ?

Mike G
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 19, 2017 4:07 pm

How does the above square with the topic of the post?

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Mike G
February 19, 2017 4:35 pm

If you want topical, you are in the wrong place.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Mike G
February 19, 2017 8:21 pm

The money quote: “The lake may get above the 850 level, but they expect nothing even resembling a problem.”

Cindiloo
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 19, 2017 6:43 pm

At the end of the day – I just want to know if my extensive family (we go back 6 generations there) will have time to get out, perish the thought something were to occur. It took them 3 hours to get to Chico before – what would have been a 25 minute drive.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Cindiloo
February 19, 2017 11:39 pm

It is my opinion that they will have time. The erosion is on the face of the natural ridge that is under the spillways. This could erode that ridge, but only down to the level of the bedrock (under the surface weathered rock layers). So it would start very slowly as that ridge eroded, pick up modest speed, then slow again as it hit bedrock. I would expect that to take far longer than 3 hours.
The only risk would be if the bridges were taken out and you were trapped on the lake side of the Feather River, so expect to “bug out” to the other side of the bridge early, then don’t sweat it on the time to Chico.
FWIW, I grew up there and know the area well. Were I trying to get out, I’d not spend 3 hours on the road to Chico. I’d take the road past the airport and the afterbay to highway 99 (Larken to E. Hamilton) , then take the road from it to Colusa (there are a couple, one through Gridley and one closer to Oroville). I don’t remember the name, but highway 162 to Willows (heads east just a bit north of the bottom (south) edge of the afterbay). Then at Willows, run up I-5 to Chico.
Not a lot of folks know that route and it ought to move way faster than 3 hours.
Don’t take it if water is already overtopping the spillway, as that will rush down the river and the segment near the afterbay is not high elevation…

Timo Soren
February 19, 2017 3:20 pm

I read they were going to reduce dam flow to 60000 so they could dredge debris to up electric side cfs. This link shows cfs on dam:
http://rdcfeeds.redding.com/lakelevels/oro.cfm
But dropping the spillway to gain a small rate of flow from the electric side when they have a storm coming seems insane. The spillway should have been running at 100+ in preparation.

Chris 4692
Reply to  Timo Soren
February 19, 2017 5:37 pm

As the water level drops, the spillway cannot necessarily output 100,000 cfs.

Reply to  Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 6:30 pm

I don’t think the spillway can reduce levels below 50 feet. Is this true? 50 ft is the lowest limit?

Reply to  Timo Soren
February 20, 2017 9:53 am

Outflow rates charted/graphed of the past month here:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlotServlet.jsp?sensor_no=3381&end=02/20/2017+09:42&geom=small&interval=30&cookies=cdec01
Note the near 100,000 CFS peak flow rate for something on the order of three days straight.

F. Ross
February 19, 2017 3:25 pm

So… will this finally be enough water to safeguard the delta smelt?
/sarc

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  F. Ross
February 19, 2017 3:35 pm

F.Ross

So… will this finally be enough water to safeguard the delta smelt?
/sarc

Well, technically speakin’ off course, the former “delta smelt” are now washed out into the Pacific Ocean by the sudden emergency discharge, have been eaten (or died in the salt water water out there) and are something else. Or are fish poop on the bottom.
But you see, if the dams had never been built in years past, the Sacramento River would have been at very, very low flows for ALL of the drought years, and the “delta smelt” would have died in the very brackish upper delta water caused by the low flow and tidal washes of the Bay as it got back-flooded by salt water tides and low (no!) fresh water for 6 years.

Reply to  F. Ross
February 19, 2017 3:40 pm

They have all been washed out to sea by the excess water to be eaten by salmon. Problem solved. /sarc

jimmmy
February 19, 2017 3:30 pm

Only if we were able to ‘drop’ the global temperature by 1.5c – and none of this would have happened 🙂

philincalifornia
February 19, 2017 3:33 pm

Tangential, a bit, to this but I’d like to be educated on this if there’s an expert on it on here (which I’m guessing there is). What does this monster deluge situation (that I’ve been living in for weeks now) do to the water table and groundwater statewide. For example can these “experts” stop wetting the bed now, or are we still in the wrong order of magnitude:
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-groundwater-20150318-story.html
…. and who the heck likes almonds so much ??

philincalifornia
Reply to  philincalifornia
February 19, 2017 3:36 pm

EDIT: Just saw the comment above from WillHaas which I believe asks a similar question.

Reply to  philincalifornia
February 19, 2017 3:50 pm

Not an expert, but some partial answers.
The supersoakers do only a little to replenish groundwater because so much runs off. In central valley, that which stands in fields helps. You need to filter the water through the earth to avoid contaminating aquifers. Best is a long slow snowpack melt. Much of that then soaks in, and finds its way down mountain to the plains aquifers. My grandfather had a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear. Water was drawn in buckets from a spring. The spring flow always depended on how fast or slow the snowpack melted.
As for California almonds, lots of people in lots of places. Most of the crop is exported.

Mondobob
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 6:05 pm

Quite true. Usually “flash” storms which heavy precipitation do not dramatically effect ground water levels in most drinking water aquifers (deeper and often isolated from the shallow surface by aquitards). Large precip events can easily raise shallow or alluvial water table aquifers if the water can have time to infiltrate. Similarly. the land along a river course can be where water can be naturally stored in “bank storage” during hogh flow events. Flooded ag land can help replenish the shallow water bearing zones (usually where most ag water wells are completed). Better still, as you noted, is slower infiltration from steady precipitation or snow melt. Unfortunately most deeper aquifers are not recharged locally but usually at some distance (recharge area) with water travel times in centuries or 1,000’s of years. Over exploration of those aquifers, prior to decent knowledge of how aquifers work, has resulted in a lost resource worldwide..

Javert Chip
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 8:27 pm

Having lived in CA, storms like this are great for mudslides. Only thing better for mudslides is a great fire year followed by a huge downpour.
Either way, mudslides are in your future.

Reply to  philincalifornia
February 19, 2017 5:19 pm

comment image
Current research claims compaction from extraction can’t be reversed. Perhaps a megaflood that kept the San Joaquin Valley submerged awhile would falsify that hypothesis.

toorightmate
Reply to  verdeviewer
February 20, 2017 4:46 am

Each of those years have a very strong correlation with the burning of coal – no doubt.

Reply to  verdeviewer
February 20, 2017 8:51 am

Each of those years have a very strong correlation with the burning of coal

Doubtful. Electrical generation for the irrigation pumps was mostly hydro during that period.
http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/sce_history.htm

u.k.(us)
February 19, 2017 3:35 pm

Couldn’t resist:

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  u.k.(us)
February 19, 2017 5:41 pm

She is a leftoid nut job, but she sure can sing.

MarkW
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 20, 2017 12:28 pm

I’ve always wondered why so many actors and singers were left wing.
I have three theories.
1) “Artists” are about feeling, not thinking.
2) There’s an old saying, if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Building on that, most artists are actors and singers are doing what they love. Also they are getting a lot of money for not much work. So they feel guilty about all the money they have. This makes virtue signaling very important to them (After all, they are into feeling good, not doing good. From point 1.)
3) There is a lot of luck involved in breaking into the movies or the music industries. As a result, it’s natural to assume that everyone who is as wealthy as they are got there because of luck.

Robertvd
February 19, 2017 3:46 pm

As long as the main spillway doesn’t collapse any further there should be no problem. But if it does they’ll have a HUGE problem. That’s why they are reinforcing the emergency spillway. It would be their only option as long as they can’t use the powerplant.

Robertvd
Reply to  Robertvd
February 19, 2017 3:53 pm

And even if the emergency spillway would collapse it would not drain the lake. Of course it all depends on the rock formation.

Reply to  Robertvd
February 19, 2017 4:04 pm

They are working like crazy on the debris bar in the diversion pool. That is why spillway flow was cut to 55kcfs. They can safely approach the nonspillway side of the debris bar. They have an estimated 150,000 cubic yards of crumbled concrete, rock, uprooted trees, and mud to remove. Latest word is they are focussing now just on opening a narrow channel opposite spillway so the power plant can be used, rather than full diversion pool cleanup. Still, have to assemble three barges, load big hydraulic excavators onto them, and devise a spoils removal system from barge to land. The picture from this PM of that prep effort shows the urgency and complexity. Not as simple as dumping rock and concrete grout onto the emergency spillway erosion scours 24/7. That is supposedly going well.

u.k.(us)
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 4:27 pm

Not sure what is worse, boredom or the high stress.

Timothy Soren
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 5:35 pm

Why remove the debris now? The power plant is running at about 9k remove debris jump to 14k gain is 5k.. Drop spillway to 60k. Lose 40k. So 1 day lost at 40k to gain 5k which takes 8 days to catch up. Don’t they need to lower the level why they can at 100k?

Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 8:48 pm

TS. Two things. Your math appears wrong. And, the 14kcfs IF restored is independent of what happens on the damaged spillways. An insurance I would buy under the circumstances.

kim
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 9:48 pm

Just under three days to catch up. Mebbe not worth it, especially with snow melt as wild card.
========

kim
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 10:22 pm

Three days to catch up for every day of 40K diminution. How many days already? Maybe they plan to make it up in volume. Yes, kim, volume of days. Such a volume that intake from even more rain and snow melt may make Ryan’s near term rain estimate seem puny.
I hope my math is wrong. That emergency spillway better hold. I sure hope California and the feds are co-operating effectively on contingency plans.
===========

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  ristvan
February 19, 2017 11:51 pm

http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20160324/NEWS/160329860
“The concrete spillway is located on the northwest end of the dam and can reach down to 813 feet.”
So if at 850 (the last goal I heard) they only have 37 more feet to drop before the spillway can not release any more water. I think that’s about a week.
So better to get some added clearance for using the other outlet before you are stuck with no drain.

Reply to  ristvan
February 20, 2017 9:47 am

ristvan February 19, 2017 at 4:04 pm
That is why spillway flow was cut to 55kcfs.
DISCHARGE flows have been over 60,000 CFS since 11 Feb (up until 18 Feb) per:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlotServlet.jsp?sensor_no=3381&end=02/20/2017+09:42&geom=small&interval=30&cookies=cdec01
9 AM 20 Feb slow rate = 59823 CFS.

MarkW
Reply to  Robertvd
February 20, 2017 12:29 pm

The biggest problem with a disintigration of the spillway would be all of the broken concrete in the former river bed.

Haverwilde
February 19, 2017 3:56 pm

The last time the Atmospheric River hit California, we in the north had great weather. And history is repeating itself. It is sunshine and 40 degrees here in Southeast Alaska.
A good friend in CA asked for some of our 13 feet of rain two years ago.
The Rain Dance, or the Rain God granted his request.
He has since asked me to refrain from sending him any more this year.
We will see what the Rain God says, but right now, it is beautiful outside.
Time for me to start work in the garden.

nn
February 19, 2017 3:57 pm

catastrophic anthropogenic government misalignment

Michael Carter
February 19, 2017 4:21 pm

Hey you critics, lay off – US engineers have used metrics for years!: “Thousands of an inch” 🙂

chilemike
February 19, 2017 4:32 pm

Lots of rain, indeed, but does Dr.Maue have to give the measurement in the trillions of gallons ? It rings like the meaningless ‘ # of Hiroshima bomb’ metrics that are just meant to sound sensational. That’s only 1/300 of a ‘Lake Superior’ anyway.

Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 4:33 pm

3911 square miles is 110 billion square feet
One foot on the basin is 111 billion cubic feet
7.48 gallons per cubic foot
One foot of rain on the basin is 822 billion gallons.
That amount of rain is also 2.5 million acre feet, compared to a reservoir volume of 3.5 million acre feet. I don’t have a stage – volume relationship available, but it doesn’t seem wildly out of proportion.
Also consider that if the rain falls over 7 days, it will take time for the rain on the remote parts of the basin to arrive, so it will arrive over more like two weeks.

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 5:04 pm

Tell that to the engineers, they’ll be happy to hear it.
They are already wondering how fast all the snow will melt.

Chris 4692
Reply to  u.k.(us)
February 19, 2017 5:21 pm

The engineers at the dam likely already have it modeled. Commenters here do not.

CCC
Reply to  Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 5:32 pm

That’s why the previous poster asked about fortnights…

Don K
Reply to  Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 6:57 pm

And consider also that much of the precipitation will fall as snow and also that there is one fair sized reservoir/dam upstream of Oroville — Canyon Dam-Lake Almanor — on the North Fork of the Feather River. Of course Lake Almanor is probably close to full as well.

Robertvd
February 19, 2017 4:45 pm

The climate change scam is all about preemptive action as long as they can make money stealing your tax dollars. So it seems that improving a dam was a bad investment. At least the money they need now to repair this dam cannot be used for windmills.

Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 5:18 pm

Rereading the headline and the tweets, Dr Mue does not say 10 trillIon over Oroville.

DaveK
February 19, 2017 5:23 pm

One trillion gallons? that’s what… the entire volume of the reservoir?
Sure hope it doesn’t all fall as warm rain.

February 19, 2017 5:32 pm

So it the Aquifer has been running a deficit in amount of water it contains why nor pump a bunch of the surface water into it. Just a thought. it would get filtered and be available when needed for crops and homes with no real losses from evaporation while stored.

Mandobob
Reply to  Jon Alldritt
February 19, 2017 6:27 pm

Artificial recharge can be done but is very expensive and only works with the right aquifer conditions. In most cases the recharge project costs greatly exceed any future capture of the initial expense,

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Jon Alldritt
February 19, 2017 11:59 pm

There are pumps all around the Thermalito Afterbay. (Shallow warming lake below lake Oroville) They were installed since water leaking through the bottom of it, into the ground, was raising the water table to the point where it was at the surface… They are used to pull the water table back down below the surface by pumping the water back into the Afterbay.
In my old back yard, about 12 miles away and NOT affected by the Afterbay, we dug a well. At 12 feet we hit hard pan. 2 feet further down we broke through it and stopped at about 15 feet… with the water level then at 10 feet down as the water below the hardpan rose up.
When your water table is at 10 feet down, it isn’t the dry spot…
One would need to ship that water south to Kern County, L.A., etc. etc. and then put it into the ground. Oh, wait, that’s what the California Aquaduct does…
BTW, for about 30 miles around in most directions, the area grows rice, so for months on end it is one giant ground water recharge basin. Then in winter it floods…

February 19, 2017 5:35 pm

I saw that 10 trillion gallons figure attributed to Dr. Maue… several days ago, I thought.
Yes, it was from February 15th. Talking about the rain that’s been hitting over the past few days.

Rhoda R
February 19, 2017 5:48 pm

Is all that erosion to the right side of the spill way okay? No one seems to be worrying about it but doesn’t it represent a potential to under cut the bottom half of the spill way and destroy the whole thing?

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Rhoda R
February 20, 2017 12:03 am

The bottom half no longer matters. It is just a lump of junk in the way.
The only part that matters is the top half, and wether or not turbulence at the end undercuts it. As the water is now running clear, that says it isn’t being undercut, so is likely bedded into bedrock at that point.
The odds are that spillway will work fine as is for a few years…

February 19, 2017 6:08 pm

First of all only an idiot would live in California, even visit in this day and age. Second they had droughts and now they are having rain. With all the ultra liberal progressive witchcraft, maybe this is a hint at judgment coming? Hmmm…”But oh no….that’s just a “conspiracy theory”. That would never happen.” Said every state and country that ever defied God for long periods of time.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Ernie Mink
February 20, 2017 7:09 am

Sure hope you forgot the sarc tag.

drednicolson
Reply to  Ernie Mink
February 20, 2017 8:42 am

And/or defied common sense.

February 19, 2017 6:08 pm

One would think that the climate change people with access to the fastest and biggest computers on earth would have been able to forecast this rain event. Instead they went right on with mega permanent drought. Their credibility is laughable if it weren’t so serious that they are playing politics. Until they they can start pinning down details of when these changes will occur, they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Here’s an example, sometime in the near future, the American mid west will see drought again. It’s a reoccurring event. If they want to reestablish some sort of professional opinion, then they have to get this right. When it will happen, how dry it will be, and how long it will last. That would be some useful information. This rain in California shouldn’t be a surprise. If they couldn’t predict this, they aren’t able to predict anything.
What surprises me is the shock when it floods in places like Australia or California. The CAGW people must believe their own propaganda. If nothing else the IPCC should be disbanded, it’s useless, and in fact harmful. Supplying even in the short term wrong information.

Reply to  rishrac
February 19, 2017 7:00 pm

Looking at the precip charts for CA, I predict another such event in 10 years. The only models I have are wooden fish decoys for ice spearing. They actually work!

Reply to  R2Dtoo
February 19, 2017 7:41 pm

I too predict a drought in the midwest about 2030 + or – a few years.

J Mac
Reply to  R2Dtoo
February 19, 2017 8:38 pm

Lake Winnebago?

Griff
Reply to  rishrac
February 20, 2017 4:03 am

Drought is still the general/base condition that will be found in both California and Australia.
Interrupted only by outbursts of extreme weather.

Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 4:40 am

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Climate change organizations can’t forecast when those outbursts when will occur? And worse they claim mega drought when it’s not ? Le Bottom Line, they don’t know squat.

MarkW
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 12:34 pm

In other words, the normal condition for the last 10,000 years or so is going to continue.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 8:04 pm

“Griff February 20, 2017 at 4:03 am
Drought is still the general/base condition that will be found in both California and Australia.
Interrupted only by outbursts of extreme weather.”
No Griff, *JUST* weather, that’s all it is and all it will ever be.

Steve Oregon
February 19, 2017 6:35 pm

Is this rain Biblical?
http://blog.ucsusa.org/juliet-christian-smith/el-nino-wont-fill-up-californias-critical-groundwater-reservoirs
“One wet season will have very little effect on our groundwater supplies. The only kind of rain that would refill our groundwater aquifers this year is of truly Biblical proportions—or else a steady flow of storms for years to come. So, while it is time to enjoy this rain, don’t be fooled into thinking California’s water problems will go away—they are still right underfoot.”

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Steve Oregon
February 19, 2017 7:21 pm

I don’t think you are allowed to use the word “Biblical” in any of the 57 U. S. states.
I think that is one of the new rules signed by the recently retired POTUS.
Besides, CA’s problems will never go away, including the wet/dry nature of the climate.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
February 20, 2017 12:23 am

As long as you are ok with Koranic as well.

J Mac
Reply to  Steve Oregon
February 19, 2017 10:55 pm

No. It’s Natural….

Steve Oregon
February 19, 2017 7:13 pm

Interesting way to see the rain over 24hrs.
Pass your cursor over the hr marker.
http://storms.meas.ncsu.edu/users/mdparker/radarchive/

February 19, 2017 7:31 pm

Cliff Mass writes …
Serious Threat to the Oroville Dam
The latest forecasts are very worrying regarding the heavily damaged Oroville Dam in California.  And I am surprised there is to so little talk by CA state officials and the media about the danger.
http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2017/02/serious-threat-to-oroville-dam.html

Reply to  rovingbroker
February 20, 2017 9:38 am

Wow!
Was the dam damaged?
THIS is ‘series’ and ‘Yuge’ if so and should be HEADLINE NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(I thought it was the spillway )
.
.
/sarc
.
Also: NOTING the BIG step backwards in rationality mankind is taking as spurred to the fore by this issue.

February 19, 2017 7:51 pm

42 billion tons of Water! Think of the latent heat released ! With co2 retaining that heat we are gonna fry. …. ( sarc) forget about windmills how much energy is that dropped from 900 feet ?

David L. Hagen
February 19, 2017 8:02 pm

tweeted

“Assuming catchment area into Lake Oroville roughly 3000-4000 sq miles represented by circle: 6″ rain = 0.5 Trillion gallon rainfall input.”

6″ Rain on 3607 mi2 #Oroville #Dam catchment = 1,650,000 Acre Ft
= 22% of 8 day design inflow volume of 5,217,300 acre-feet
Simply scaling to 22% of Peak Outflow of 798,000 cfs suggests
Spillway flows of 177,000 CFS? bit.ly/2m24ZAA
That suggests a potential of 177% of the 100,000 CFS flow over the damaged spillway!
The current 72 hour forecast suggests 5″ to 11″ or about 8″ of rain across the Oroville dam catchment area.
That could delivery about 2,200,000 acre ft to Lake Oroville or 42% of the 8 day design inflow.
Scaling to 42% peak outflow of 798000 cfs suggests spillway flows could reach 380,000 cfs.
ie 380% of the 100,000 cfs flow over the damaged spillway!
(Please check conversions & calculations)
(The 10 trillion gallons appears to be into California.)

Chris 4692
Reply to  David L. Hagen
February 19, 2017 8:22 pm

3607 X 640 equals 2,308,480 acres
0.5 ft on 2,308,480 acres is 1,154,240 acre-ft

Chris 4692
Reply to  Chris 4692
February 19, 2017 8:26 pm

8 inches is 1,538,986 acre-ft.

Chris 4692
Reply to  David L. Hagen
February 19, 2017 8:51 pm

Flood storage is approximately 800,000 Acre-ft
The spillway At 150,000 cfs puts out 300,000 acre-ft per day , that matches downstream channel capacity.
For 8 inches of rain 1,540,000 acre-ft storing 800,000 acre feet means discharging 740,000 acre-ft, or a bit more than two days at full bore.
An 8 inch rain is well within the capacity of the dam as it will take several days for the bulk of the flow to reach the reservoir from the far end of the drainage area.

DaveK
February 19, 2017 8:57 pm

And once this is done, will we get a nice WARM spring rain to melt the record snowpack? What then?

Mike the Morlock
February 19, 2017 9:14 pm

A point of interest, in all the posts on the Orville dam and rain storms where are the so concerned CAGW climate people? One would expect them to be greatly interested in this situation and full of suggestion and recommendations. But not a peep. Do they not care?
Heh heh.
michael
Lets not let them forget this.

February 19, 2017 9:58 pm

I wonder how much gold this little event has sluiced out?

J Mac
Reply to  Max Photon
February 19, 2017 10:53 pm

For California, this is au naturale hydraulic mining.
Wash. Rinse. Wait for the next Pineapple Express…. and repeat!
The muck they are digging out of the back eddy between the main ruptured spillway flow and the turbine flow channels might be worth ‘panning’ or running through a sluice box….
Lottsa opportunities further down stream for amateur action in the gravel bars, when the flows drop back to safer levels. Any locations where water flows across nearly flat bedrock with cracks cross flow would also be worth working… by suctioning out anything that collected in the cracks and running it through a sluice/riffle box.

Reply to  J Mac
February 19, 2017 11:02 pm

The waters downstream are too deep. I plan on working the upper reaches of the Feather River system, where there is less overburden. The banks of streams and creeks will be the most productive using a metal detector. I would love to stick my dredge in the river, but the state has been holding back on the issuance of the permits despite a favorable ruling one year ago from the judge hearing the 6 year old case on the moratorium. Some dredgers take the risk of dredging anyway.

angech
February 19, 2017 11:17 pm

How many rivers of rain has it taken to over spill in the first place?
This current event sounds like at least as much. Plus it is full.
Perhaps they should cut a hole in the emergency spillway now in anticipation to reduce damage.

Grant
February 19, 2017 11:39 pm

Don Pedro in Tuollumne county will be full by Tuesday, when it’s spillway will come into use. Hope it holds up better than Oroville!

February 20, 2017 12:24 am

Bunch of Wimps, it’s normal weather for Snowdonia and large parts of Wales 🙂

J.H.
February 20, 2017 1:16 am

Even if the emergency spillway is entirely compromised and washes away…. It’s not going to do much except for some localized flooding…… As long as it doesn’t Surge.
Assuming that the main spillway won’t be able to be used at is full rated flow…They are probably better off breaking up the emergency spill way and just letting it spill through a controlled gap closer to the main spillway side. It’s not going to compromise the main structure of the dam. Better off letting it spill in a controlled manner than as a surge.
Anyway, better minds than mine are working on it I suppose.

jones
February 20, 2017 2:54 am

Peak water?

Griff
February 20, 2017 4:15 am

http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-dam-truth-climate-change-means-more-lake-orovilles/
“California’s climate has always been extreme (even before humans got seriously involved), but what’s happening right now is just ridiculous. We are witnessing the effects of climate change play out, in real time.”
“Climate science and basic physics suggest we are already seeing a shift in the delicate rainfall patterns of the West Coast. A key to understanding how California’s rainy season is changing lies in understanding what meteorologists call “atmospheric rivers,” thin, intense ribbons of moisture that stream northeastward from the tropical Pacific Ocean and provide California with up to half of its annual rainfall. Exactly how atmospheric rivers will change depends on greenhouse gas emissions and science that’s still being worked out.
Atmospheric rivers are already responsible for roughly 80 percent of California’s flooding events — including the one at Lake Oroville — and there’s reason to believe they are changing in character. Since warmer air can hold more water vapor, atmospheric rivers in a warming climate are expected to become more intense, bringing perhaps a doubling or tripling in frequency of heavy downpours. What’s more, as temperatures increase, more moisture will fall as rain instead of snow, increasing the pressure on dams and waterways during the peak of the rainy season. There’s even new evidence that especially warm atmospheric rivers can erode away existing snowpack.”

SMC
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 5:12 am

Oh bollocks. The great flood of 1862 needs to be explained before they can even begin to consider calling what’s currently happening climate change. Same goes for droughts. They can’t explain why California has experienced drought that lasted for centuries.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 7:00 am

After 40 years green science –
“Exactly how atmospheric rivers will change depends on greenhouse gas emissions
and science that’s still being worked out.”
____________________________________________
Gold at the end of the rainbow!

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 7:02 am

Griff, a warmer atmosphere holds more water, not releases more.

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 20, 2017 12:39 pm

Don’t try to explain reality to the Griff. It just makes him mad.

MarkW
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 12:38 pm

If Griffies world, if it hasn’t happened in the last 10 years, then it’s proof that CO2 is going to kill us all.

Paul Courtney
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 2:24 pm

griff quotes cli scis “and basic physics suggest… the delicate rainfall patterns of the West Coast.” After I got up off the floor laughing at the “delicate” west coast rainfall pattern (the sure sign that an enviro activist is speaking, when nature is “delicate”), a pattern repeated so many times in recorded history (and geo history) as to debunk any human cause, after I caught my breath, I wondered, how does basic physics “suggest” something to these cli scis? A voice in their head? Seems like just last month cli scis and “basic physics” were suggesting more drought. Maybe those voices are confusing them, griff?

Reply to  Paul Courtney
February 20, 2017 4:25 pm

Delicate ! OMG ! That is funny.

CWP
Reply to  Griff
February 20, 2017 3:10 pm

Grist? Ha ha ha! You kidder, you!

Gary Pearse
February 20, 2017 6:59 am

Ten trillion gallons! We seem to be adopting the alarmist metrics – remember the number of olympic swimming pools worth of water melted from Greenland. I see attempts to get a handle on the amount. Well how about this one: The sun is 15 trillion centimetres from earth; a gallon jug is ~30cm high, so 7.5 trillion gallon jugs end to end would reach the sun and back!

George Lawson
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 20, 2017 7:20 am

Talking about ten trillion gallons is quite meaningless. How do these people know it’s ten trillion rather than 15 or twenty?. And how can any of us relate to trillions of gallons at all? Let’s keep to inches of rain fall, we have all learned to understand inches as it relates to previous rain volume, and therefore gives us a far better picture of the scale of the deluge.

MarkW
Reply to  George Lawson
February 21, 2017 10:09 am

1.32 quadrillion fluid ounces.

Chris4692
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 21, 2017 9:39 am

Fourty trillion quarts!

February 20, 2017 9:58 am

Nota bene and FYI
MESOSCALE PRECIPITATION DISCUSSION 0060
NWS WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
450 AM EST MON FEB 20 2017
AREAS AFFECTED…CA COAST…SACRAMENTO VALLEY…SIERRA-NEVADA
FOOTHILLS
CONCERNING…HEAVY RAINFALL…FLASH FLOODING POSSIBLE
VALID 0947Z – 1800Z
http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/metwatch/metwatch_mpd_multi.php?md=0060&yr=2017
http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/metwatch/images/mcd0060.gif

Steve Oregon
February 20, 2017 10:39 am

https://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/crsp/cs/gcd.html
(Last Updated: February 16, 2017)
Current Status
The reservoir is declining and will continue to decline until spring runoff begins to enter the reservoir. The current snowpack above Lake Powell is 157% of median.
That’s curious since the very day they updated that, the 16th, Lake Powell inflow started exceeding outflow.
Has ever since.
According to the link they provide on their update.
To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Lake Powell Data.
https://www.usbr.gov/rsvrWater/rsv40Day.html?siteid=919&reservoirtype=Reservoir
Is this unusual or is it an early spring runoff?
Will Lake Powell and Lake Mean fill as they did in ’83?
Check this out
http://articles.latimes.com/1995-10-29/magazine/tm-62672_1_hoover-dam
“Yet it was during the summer of 1983 that the Bureau of Reclamation almost lost control of the Colorado River to a rampaging flood.
Normal runoff from the snowpack along the Continental Divide was forecast that year, so Lake Powell, which straddles the Utah-Arizona border, was drawn down only slightly. Hot weather and rain altered the picture, and the actual runoff was 210% of normal.
Two thousand tons of water per second soared from the dam’s two spillways and river outlets. Rumbling noises were heard in early June. Chunks of rocks and pieces of concrete issued from the spillway tunnels, as if the dam was mortally wounded.
Despite the apparent damage, the spillway gates needed to be kept partially open because the reservoir was rising almost six inches a day. Yet water also needed to be contained. Hoover Dam, 402 miles downstream, had safety problems of its own, and releases from Hoover could cause extensive flooding and damage all the way to the Gulf of California, as it eventually did that year.
Top bureau officials met in late June and established a maximum water level of 3,708 feet above sea level for Lake Powell. At 3,708.40 feet, the engineers thought they would lose control of the spillway gates. Four-foot-high plywood sheets were added to the gates. The water rose and lapped over them. The plywood was replaced by eight-foot steel plates. The water still rose.
When engineers inspected the spillway tunnels, they saw that house-sized holes had been punched through the concrete lining and into the sandstone. They thought the sandstone might erode, causing “an uncontrolled release,” according to a memo.
What would then happen was anyone’s guess. A wall of water could have roared through the Grand Canyon and overwhelmed everything in its path, starting with Hoover Dam. The subsequent huge loss of life, property, power and water would have been disastrous.
The level of the reservoir peaked at 3,708.34 feet on July 15, six-hundredths of a foot below the point where officials feared they’d lose control. It held steady for a few days and then gradually declined.”

Reply to  Steve Oregon
February 20, 2017 5:40 pm

“…six-hundredths of a foot below the point where officials feared they’d lose control..”, that sounds like a typical Hollywood script where the disaster almost always gets averted with one second left on the clock. Life imitates art.

J Mac
February 20, 2017 12:54 pm

Water level is currently 52 feet below the Oroville Dam emergency spillway level. Flow rate down the main spillway has been increased slightly to 60,000 CFS and current inflows to the reservoir are still below that rate. Heavier rains this evening and tomorrow will reverse that but the 52 feet of reserve capacity is considered to be safely sufficient. Repair work continues to the emergency spillway and the outflow channel for the electrical turbines discharge water.

Steve Oregon
Reply to  J Mac
February 20, 2017 1:00 pm

It appears they have drained enough to regain their lost flood control capacity.
However, with the rain and everything downstream saturated the continued releases to avoid overflow may require more sever flooding.

CWP
February 20, 2017 1:39 pm

I’ve done a lot of reading in recent days. I think that 8 inches of rain in the Oroville watershed will refill the reservoir and cause the emergency spillway to begin emptying. But it might be less than 8 inches, because:
1. Unbeknownst to most observers, including (!) the Oroville managers themselves, Oroville is merely the largest reservoir in a network that feeds into it. In particular, there’s another one (Lake Almanor) that’s one-third the size of Oroville, which makes it a very large one. It’s full, as are all the other upper watershed reservoirs. In the rain the weekend before last, some of the water wound up in their other reservoirs, but not this time.
2. The snowpack is 150%+ of average. It’s already been rained on hard. This increases its water content, and makes it likelier than there’ll be some snowmelt to add to inflows.
The main spillway is badly damaged and can’t be run at more than 70,000 cfs. If the rains are at or above the high end of forecasts, then the emergency spillway will get used again. It’s a passive structure and cannot be closed.
There is some evidence that the rock under the emergency spillway is less solid than thought. If it’s used again, the danger would be that the erosion will migrate backwards, and that the weir will collapse. If that happens, it might not even matter if the dam itself goes, because you’d see the main spillway collapse and join the emergency spillway.
Let’s hope it doesn’t rain as hard as the latest forecasts suggest.

Reply to  CWP
February 20, 2017 9:02 pm

The main spillway should have sloped sides and be routed back and forth across the face of the dam so that in case of emergency it can be used as a water park.

wws
Reply to  nutso fasst
February 20, 2017 9:39 pm

That’s an awesome idea! And part of it should be shaped like a giant spiral and they could raise revenue to fix the dam by selling big inner-tubes at the top.