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Nearly 200,000 evacuate around Oroville, California, due to possible failure of emergency spillway

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Over 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate Oroville, California, and its surrounding areas ahead of emergency spillway failure at Oroville Dam on Sunday.

Officials warned of "imminent failure" within 60 minutes at Oroville Dam's emergency spillway at 4:45 p.m. PST Sunday, according to KRCR-TV. There is a flash flood warning for the Oroville area until 4:15 p.m. PST Monday.

While the dam has not given way, the emergency spillway, which prevents the water from overflowing, was discovered to have a hole in it and was eroding, officials say.

If the structure fails, it will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.

orovilledam

Water flows down Oroville Dam's main spillway on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, near Oroville, Calif. Officials have ordered residents near the Oroville Dam in Northern California to evacuate the area on Sunday, Feb. 12, saying a "hazardous situation is developing" after an emergency spillway severely eroded. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


An emergency evacuation of Yuba City and Marysville was ordered late Sunday afternoon. Gridley and Live Oak were included in the evacuation alert on Sunday evening. Several evacuation centers have been set up around the area.


As of late Sunday night, officials say the threat has diminished somewhat as the erosion was stopped, but evacuations should continue.

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency order late Sunday evening in response to the dam's overflow crisis.

“I’ve been in close contact with emergency personnel managing the situation in Oroville throughout the weekend, and it’s clear the circumstances are complex and rapidly changing,” he said in a statement.

"The state is directing all necessary personnel and resources to deal with this very serious situation. "

In response to this situation, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.

The California Highway Patrol said it was assisting motorists who were in need of gas.

KRCR-TV reports that residents of Oroville are advised to evacuate northward towards Chico.


A list of available evacuation centers can be found at buttecounty.net.