Evacuations Lifted for Residents Below Oroville Dam - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Evacuations Lifted for Residents Below Oroville Dam

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Authorities have lifted an evacuation order for nearly 200,000 California residents who live below a dam with a damaged spillway that threatened to collapse and cause catastrophic flooding.

Officials say the decision to lift the evacuation order has taken into account updated weather forecasts and that a storm later this week is expected to be colder, with less rain so not as much water is expected to flow into the reservoir behind Oroville Dam.

A California sheriff says the water level at the lake behind Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest, is low enough to accommodate an expected storm, but residents returning home should be prepared for "the prospect that we will issue another evacuation order." 

National Weather Service forecasters say the mountains surrounding the Oroville Dam received between 10 and 20 inches of rain late last week.

The National Weather Service's Sacramento office says rain will move through late Wednesday and Thursday morning, with 2 inches to 4 inches in the foothills and mountains, but the storm is looking colder than initially projected, meaning lower snow levels and less runoff into Sierra reservoirs than the storms last week.

A week ago, workers noticed torrential rain and snow-melt had torn a hole in the dam's main spillway and emergency crews were working Tuesday to fill a that hole. Eric Holland of the state Department of Water Resources' dam-safety division says any of a number of different problems could have caused the spillway troubles. Holland says authorities often never discover in these cases what exactly happened, because flood water has washed out everything at the scene.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said at a Washington press conference that the president is in contact with state officials and working with federal disaster relief agencies and that President Trump is keeping a "close eye" on the public safety crisis caused by a damaged Northern California dam. Spicer said it's an example of why Congress needs to pass major infrastructure upgrades for the country.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)

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