A powerful atmospheric river storm is bringing rain Friday to much of California, resulting in a flood watch for three counties down south and strong winds to the Bay Area. In Southern California, a flash flood watch will be in effect from 7 a.m. Friday through Saturday morning for Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service has issued a high wind warning for parts of the Bay Area and Central Coast, including the Monterey Bay area.
Archive for date: February 17th, 2017
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Since going over capacity last week, the water level in the Oroville Dam has dropped, but it’s still at a higher level for this time of year than the previous 16 years. The dam reached capacity causing overflowing water to go into two of the dam’s spillways. But damage to those spillways created concern that they would fail and prompted an evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. The lift on the evacuation was announced on Tuesday, but because of projected high levels of precipitation for California this winter, residents are told to remain vigilant.
Snowpack and reservoir levels continued to increase in California, marking another week of improvement for drought conditions across the state. Last week, 47 percent of the state was in drought, but that figure plummeted to 24 percent this week, according to the Drought Monitor report issued Thursday. At this time last year, 94 percent of California was in drought.
The utterly avoidable, terrifying and still potentially catastrophic failures of the spillways of North America’s highest dam – California’s 170 foot, earth-filled Oroville – could, with the right national leadership, awaken America to the urgency of investing in our physical safety and future – our infrastructure.
To live beneath the Oroville Dam requires a certain measure of faith — faith in the engineers who designed the nation’s tallest dam and the construction workers who built it more than a half century ago, and faith in the government agencies that maintain and operate it.
Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died. “If this doesn’t galvanize action, I don’t know what will,” Mount said he thought at the time. But spring came, the waters receded and no changes came to pass.
The state’s second largest school district will conduct testing on its drinking water after another local district uncovered high levels of lead, copper and bacteria in water from school fountains. San Diego Unified School District joins Cajon Valley, Chula Vista Elementary, National Elementary and Sweetwater Union school districts in taking part in a free program to conduct lead testing on school drinking water. High levels of lead were found in drinking fountains at La Mirada Elementary in the San Ysidro School District.
A pacific storm that drew energy from the subtropics unleashed ferocious winds and intense rain across San Diego County on Friday, causing fatal accidents, power outages affecting thousands of residents and damage to homes when uprooted trees fell on them. The precipitation was part of a broad, fast-moving system that generated even wilder winds and heavier rainfall across other parts of Southern California, including a 72 mph gust in the Long Beach Harbor area.
Communities just downstream of California’s Lake Oroville dam would not receive adequate warning or time for evacuations if the 770-foot-tall dam itself — rather than its spillways — were to abruptly fail, the state water agency that operates the nation’s tallest dam repeatedly advised federal regulators a half-decade ago. The state Department of Water Resources informed federal dam regulators that local emergency officials “do not believe there is enough time to perform evacuations in the communities immediately downstream of the dam during a sudden failure,” according to a Feb. 8, 2011, letter reviewed by The Associated Press.