News If Trump wants to make America great again, he can start by fixing the Oroville Dam
Frantic work begins to fix Oroville Dam’s battered emergency spillway in advance of new storms
Los Angeles Times 16 hours ago Officials have begun a complex operation aimed at trying to repair the damaged emergency spillway at Oroville Dam in advance of new storms coming to the area. Chris Orrock, spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, said workers were beginning a multi-part operation to repair the emergency spillway. In one part, helicopters are dropping sacks of rocks into a hole created by erosion. Dump trucks are also bringing in more rocks to patch other spots and create slurry to solidify it. They’re also building a gravel road out to where the helicopters are dropping the rocks. Then the trucks can drive out and create a slurry to deposit in the hole and solidify it. „You’re putting rocks in a hole. …
Officials have begun a complex operation aimed at trying to repair the damaged emergency spillway at Oroville Dam in advance of new storms coming to the area.Chris Orrock, spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, said workers were beginning a multi-part operation to repair the emergency spillway.In one part, helicopters are dropping sacks of rocks into a hole created by erosion. Dump trucks are also bringing in more rocks to patch other spots and create slurry to solidify it.They’re also building a gravel road out to where the helicopters are dropping the rocks. Then the trucks can drive out and create a slurry to deposit in the hole and solidify it.”You’re putting rocks in a hole. Then you’re putting slurry in to solidify it,” he said. „When water comes down, it will hit that patch and roll off.”The work began this afternoon but some of it has slowed with nightfall.John France, an engineering consultant at AECom who has worked on dams for more than 30 years, said dropping large boulders in the hole in the primary spillway is a smart temporary fix.“The large rocks will break up the flow of water a bit so it won’t have so much energy,” he said. “If the water has less energy, the underlying structure won’t erode as quickly.”Dusty Myers, chief of the Dam Safety Division of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, agreed.“The higher the velocity of the water, the more erosion it will cause,” he said. “The rocks to me sound like a precautionary measure to keep any more damage from occurring.”The emergency spillway was brought into service for the first time ever this weekend after the main spillway suffered damage. But on Sunday, officials noticed a hole in the emergency spillway. Fearing further damage to the spillway, officials ordered more than 100,000 people to evacuate downstream and began pumping water out of the reservoir through the damaged main spillway. That brought water levels low enough that water stopped flowing from the emergency spillway.Another rainstorm is expected Wednesday night, lasting through the weekend.Megerian reported from Oroville, Netburn from Los Angeles.
Evacuation lifted for 200K Californians living below dam JONATHAN J. COOPER and PAUL ELIAS,Associated Press 12 hours ago Nearly 200,000 Dam Evacuees Allowed to Go HomeScroll back up to restore default view.OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Nearly 200,000 Northern Californians who live downstream of the country’s tallest dam were allowed to return home Tuesday after two nights of uncertainty, but they were warned they may have to again flee to higher ground on a moment’s notice if hastily made repairs to the battered structure don’t hold.The fixes could be put to their first test later this week with the first of a series of small storms forecast for the region.But the real test is still to come in the weeks ahead when a record amount of snowfall melts in nearby mountains.”There is the prospect that we could issue another evacuation order if the situation changes and the risk increases,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Tuesday, telling residents they could return home but to remain vigilant.Residents living below the Oroville Dam were suddenly ordered to evacuate Sunday afternoon after water authorities had assured them for nearly a week that the dam was sound despite a gaping and growing hole found in the structure’s main spillway. The order came after authorities feared an earthen emergency spillway used when the lake behind the dam overflows its capacity appeared ready to fail Sunday because of erosion.Over the weekend, the swollen lake spilled down the unpaved emergency spillway for nearly 40 hours, leaving it badly eroded. The problem occurred six days after engineers discovered a growing hole in the dam’s main concrete spillway.State and federal officials ignored calls in 2005 from environmental groups to armor the earthen spillway in concrete to prevent erosion. Federal regulators concluded the earthen spillway could handle a large amount of overflow after water agencies that would have had to pay for the upgrade argued it was unnecessary.On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat who represents an area near Oroville, called the government’s failure to coat the spillway in concrete „a classic case of woulda, coulda, shoulda.”He said that if the state had listened to the 2005 warnings and installed the concrete a decade ago, „This problem would not have occurred. But they didn’t, and there are probably multiple reasons why,” with cost a crucial one.The California Department of Water Resources said the lake was ready to take on rain and melting snow. State water officials said they have drained enough of the lake behind Oroville Dam that the emergency spillway will not be needed to handle runoff from an approaching storm.Forecasts call for 2 inches to 4 inches of rain and snow in the foothills and mountains starting Wednesday night. But the storm was looking colder than initially projected, meaning less rain and less runoff than last week’s storms.Acting department chief Bill Croyle said 40 trucks have dumped 30 tons of bags loaded with sand, concrete blocks and boulders every hour into the damaged areas, while helicopters have dropped bags of rocks and cement blocks onto the problem sites.The damaged main spillway has been stable for four days and handling a heavy flow of water, reducing the reservoir’s water level by 15 feet in preparation for coming rain and melting snow throughout the spring. Officials hope to drain the lake another 37 feet.”We still have a large snowpack; we will see quite a spring runoff,” Croyle said.Croyle said the goal is to keep the reservoir below capacity so the use of the auxiliary spillway wouldn’t be used. Still, Croyle said that spillway has been repaired and that he’s confident it could be used again if needed.Preliminary estimates say permanently fixing the hole in the main spillway could cost $100 million to $200 million, Croyle said. Experts are drawing up plans for repairs that will begin after the spring runoff season ends.Gov. Jerry Brown said late Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved his request for federal assistance with the Oroville dam situation.Meanwhile, federal regulators have told the dam’s managers at the state water resources department that they must enlist a group of „independent consultants” both to assess what went wrong and how to make long-term fixes to the damaged spillways.Water resources officials have acknowlledged cracks and repairs in the concrete in recent years. It was not clear whether those past issues played a direct role in the spillway’s rupture last week. When state inspectors last visited the dam in August, they wrote that „conditions appeared to be normal” in the concrete spillway, according to inspection reports the water resources department has released.State officials clearly were on the defensive about their decision to call for mass evacuations Sunday, just a few hours after saying the situation was stable, forcing families to rush to pack up and get out.Honea said Tuesday that the call to order nearly 200,000 people to higher ground protected lives and bought time for water experts to address the problems.But after two days away from home, tens of thousands of evacuees were growing weary. They welcomed the news they could return home.”You don’t appreciate home until it’s taken away from you,” said Margaret Johnston, 69, of Oroville, who spent two nights at a church with her two sons. She had packed a few blankets, pillows and clothes into a black garbage bag.Returning residents vowed to heed the sheriff’s warning to remain vigilant.Rod Remocal said he and his wife would now be ready to leave their Biggs home near the dam at a moment’s notice after fleeing in a rush Sunday.”We’re all coming back and pack and be ready this time,” Remocal said. „This time we’re going to be on call like they said.”_Elias reported from San Francisco._Contributing to this report were Olga R. Rodriguez, Kristin Bender and Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco; Don Thompson in Sacramento; Ellen Knickmeyer in Sonoma, California; and John Antczak and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles.
CNN Mon, Feb 13 1:50 PM PST „We urged them to put concrete on the spillway — our argument was that without a proper spillway, the hillside would wash away and cause catastrophic flooding,” Stork said. A perfect storm of events led this month to the partial failure of the dam, which provides flood control for the region. „Extreme hydrologic events precipitated this near-disaster,” said Blake Paul Tullis, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University. First, powerful storms dumped rain and snow across California. The high waters caused Lake Oroville’s level to rise to the top, and the water couldn’t be drained fast enough. Erosion left a hole almost the size of a football field and at least …
NASA Detects Star’s ‘Heartbeat’ Just in Time for Valentine’s Day
On Tuesday, NASA announced the discovery of a distant star with a “heartbeat.” The space agency observed the heartbeat-like vibrations on the outer shell of a star called HAT-P-2, making the detection with its Spitzer Space Telescope, according to details published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The star is reportedly 370 light-years away, and scientists believe the star’s behavior was caused by an exoplanet, dubbed HAT-P-2b, circling it in a tight orbit.The planet, NASA found, appears to interact with the star every time it makes its closest approach in its orbit, almost as if it’s giving the start a “kiss.” If this gravitational force is what causes the heartbeat, then these findings could have major implications for how scientists look for and study exoplanets in the future.“We had intended the observations to provide a detailed look at HAT-P-2b’s atmospheric circulation,” Nikole Lewis, co-author and astronomer at Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, said in a statement. “The discovery of the oscillations was unexpected but adds another piece to the puzzle of how this system evolved.”Lewis and her team were surprised to find a relatively small planet like HAT-P-2b could have such an effect on the much-larger star it orbits. But even though the planet’s mass is eight times the size of our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter, its host star, HAT-P-2, is approximately 100 times larger than the planet it interacts with, according to the findings.“Our observations suggest that our understanding of planet-star interactions is incomplete,” Julien de Wit, postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, said in the same statement. “There’s more to learn from studying stars in systems like this one and listening for the stories they tell through their ‘heartbeats.’”