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


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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.
        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…)..
        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.

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

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

      • 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.
        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 …

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

      • 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.

  1. 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.

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

      • 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..??

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

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

    • 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 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 🙂

      • 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.

  2. I help moderate an Engineering Tips reference site ( ) 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:
    And the 3d Model of the spillway here:

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

  4. 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.

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

      • 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.

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

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

    • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • @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.

  5. 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  6. 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.

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

      • 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?

      • 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…

    • 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.

      • 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.)

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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? 🙂

      • 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]

      • @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

      • 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

      • 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.

      • 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… )

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

      • 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.

      • 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). 😉

  7. 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  11. 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]

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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.

        “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?

      • 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;

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

    • 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.

  12. 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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,

  14. 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.
    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.

    • 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.

      • 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…

  15. 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:
    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.

    • F.Ross

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

      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.

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

  17. 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:
    …. and who the heck likes almonds so much ??

    • 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.

      • 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..

      • 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.

      • 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.

  18. 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.

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

    • 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.

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

    • 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.

  23. 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.

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

  25. 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.

    • 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,

    • 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…

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

    • 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…

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    • 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!

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

      • 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.

      • “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.

  30. Is this rain Biblical?
    “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.”

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

  31. 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 ?

    • 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.

  32. 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.
    Lets not let them forget this.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

    “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.”

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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?

  37. 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!

    • 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.

    (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.
    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
    “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.”

    • “…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.

  39. 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.

    • 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.

  40. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • It would also make a fantastic skateboard run, ending with an invigorating plunge into the Feather River.
        The California DWR should consider partnering with Six Flags Entertainment for “Six Flags Dam Wild Recreation!”

  41. The parking lots should be looking like a peg board by now. “Drill baby, drill” would be better than “cry baby, cry”. Summon my personal troll.

  42. Where is the net of reinforcement in the slab ?…I would expect a net of #4 grade 40 each way for this era of construction.
    Concrete is designed as a cracked section, it doesn’t have any tensile capacity beyond a strain of 0.003. It can only be held together by the tensile strength of the steel reinforcement. It is arrogant and untowards to assume no tension in any concrete located in any seismic zone. Why no reinforcement? I can’t get a permit for a residential garage slab without reinforcement. Why no reinforcement?

    • Slabs on grade can be designed with or without reinforcing. Most that I do are without. The reinforcing has to be supported to hold it in place in the slab, or it winds up on the base at the bottom of the slab where it does no good. But in order for the standees to have enough strength to hold the reinforcing up in the slab as the slab is placed, the base has to very firm. But if the base is firm enough to support the point load of the standees, it is also firm enough to support the distributed load of the un-reinforced concrete.

  43. Lovin the snazzy new biblical end-times sounding term RIVERS IN THE SKY is trending in the news with its insidious AGW tie in. When you expect to be SMITTEN by an ATMOSPHERIC RIVER, fall to your knees and ATONE FOR YOUR SINS TO BE SPARED THE WORST OF GOD’S WRATH.
    Meanwhile… the decades-old term used by California weather presenters that describes this specific phenomenon PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is falling into disuse because frankly, it sounds way too cute and casual for these end times. Grab your coat Marge, it’s just another naturally recurring weather event. When we expected a visit from the Pineapple Express, it was just rain and you could even wave at it when it went by, like fearless people greeting a train or trying to communicate with cows.
    Giant ‘Rivers in the Sky’ Could Cause Vast, Extinction-Level Floods

  44. 9:00am Tuesday updates: Water discharge on the main spillway continues at 60,000cfs. Oroville Lake level rose just 2 feet overnight, to 852 feet. Rock, aggregate, and cement slurry continue to be placed 24 hours a day into areas affected by erosion on the emergency spillway.

  45. To be fair to the California Water officials, who have earned plenty of grief for having not maintained the primary spillway, they have succeeded in making the situation much better.
    The significant lowering of the lake level and successful strengthening of the emergency spillway has greatly reduced the chances for a catastrophic event. If the primary spillway erosion does not escalate into something disastrous.
    Additional flooding seems likely downstream as continued rain events and release add to the wet year and coming spring runoff.
    From a broader view of all things west and wet considered I see a strong potential for a repeat of 82-83 when all things filled up providing abundant water for every use.
    The Anti-Drought may be the new Westworld.

  46. One dominos start to fall…
    The “bedrock” that some claim will stop the collapse, isn’t as good a rock as we were led to believe.
    The likelihood of a partial failure is extremely high

      • Re: geology, liquifaction is perhaps the most dramatic way for landslides to occur on melange hillsides of alluvial sand like those of South California’s St Francis dam outburst flood, however the more complex geology of Oroville doesn’t preclude similarly dramatic landslides occurring by slips and slumps along fault bounderies between the variety of rock types at that site. Chemical weathering isn’t only a surface phenomenon (as E.M.Smith contends elsewhere in the thread) it can occur where water and air can penetrate along deeper fissures created by faulting over millenia. The 1951 “Report on Feasibility of Feather River Project” by California State Water Resources Board
        notes: “Just upstream from the proposed axis the high rock line along the channel drops sharpple. There are also indications of more pronounced jointing and deeper weathering. This is undoubtedly due to some structural control not as yet evident. Also there appears to be some structural feature striking diagonally downstream from right to left abutment from point upstream from axis on right abutment to a point on axis on left abutment at about elevation 300. In may represent a shear of closely spaced joints or a difference in rock type but it should be thoroughly explored as it cuts through left abutment under the proposed structure.”
        and a Metabunk member posted map excerpts documenting a geological feature labelled “fault line” that runs diagonally under the spillway, see here
        For those interested in the nitty gritty and enjoy great photography, RocDocTravel has posted recently on this topic here:

    • That fault shown in the map is nowhere near the dam or either spillway. The symbol the commenter was referring to is a strike and dip indicator, not a fault.

  47. MSM have been spewing and spewing some more along the lines of – “these atmospheric rivers are sure signs KILLLLLLLLLLeerrrrrrrrrrr AGW is kicking in.”

    • What happened to all the fear mongering from mega drought? How did this happen ? They don’t know when to shut up. They have the shortest and convenient selective memory. If anybody remembers just a few years ago the American mid west was in a permanent drought. Now you never hear anything. Now it’s all about the Arctic and California. And the hype for every hurricane. Last year the orgy fest was about ” unprecedented storm”, they were wishing for utmost destruction. ( which leads me to think that some decision makers may be helping the greens out by making slightly bad decisions) we won’t evacuate until the last possible moment, and then it’ll be chaos. And just a few years ago the alarm was about the melting snow in the mountains in nothern India ( spell check keeps putting in the wrong name). Why is there such silence?

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