Environment & Science

Nearly 200,000 Oroville Dam evacuees allowed to go home

Police officers watch the Oroville Dam's main spillway from a lookout point Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, state officials said Tuesday.
Police officers watch the Oroville Dam's main spillway from a lookout point Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, state officials said Tuesday.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Police officers watch the Oroville Dam's main spillway from a lookout point Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, state officials said Tuesday.
The gushing waters of the Feather River, downstream from a damaged dam, draw curious onlookers Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. Workers are rushing to repair the barrier at the nation's tallest dam.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP


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.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Tuesday that experts found no additional damage to "compromise the overall integrity" of the spillway. He says the lake behind Oroville Dam also is capable of handling additional rain from an expected storm this week.

But Honea also said that residents returning home should be prepared for "the prospect that we will issue another evacuation order." He said that they could tell people to leave again "if the situation changes." The first signs that the order was lifted came when Caltrans lifted road closures in the area at 11:30 a.m. PST.

Honea said the water level at the lake behind Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest, is low enough to accommodate an expected storm later in the week.