California braces for MORE flooding – residents told they have 15 minutes to evacuate

  • Rain and wind picked up in Northern California on Saturday renewing flood fears
  • Sections of Interstate-5 in Williams, CA overflowed, blocking traffic for hours
  • Rain is expected to continue through Tuesday prompting evacuations

Engineers at the stricken Oroville Dam in Northern California have increased the rate at which they are draining water from the reservoir as a powerful rain storm driven by the phenomenon known as an ‘atmospheric river’ hits the state.

In anticipation of the storm which threatens widespread flooding in many areas, supervisors increased the amount of water being channeled out of the dam to accommodate incoming rain.

The amount of water flowing down the spillway was increased from 55,000 cubic feet a second (cfs) to 60,000 cfs on Sunday afternoon. Earlier this week, outflows were at nearly 100,000 cfs.

However, an evacuation warning is still being issued as residents immediately below the dam could be at a major risk if the dam were to abruptly fail – as they would not be able to receive warning quickly enough to evacuate.

As rainstorms return to Northern California, engineers at the Oroville Dam are working on overdrive to ensure that the troubled barrier doesn't overflow

As rainstorms return to Northern California, engineers at the Oroville Dam are working on overdrive to ensure that the troubled barrier doesn’t overflow

The first outer rain bands from a powerful Pacific storm headed to Northern California on Sunday brought light rain and wind and renewed warnings of possibly dangerous flooding in the already soggy region

The first outer rain bands from a powerful Pacific storm headed to Northern California on Sunday brought light rain and wind and renewed warnings of possibly dangerous flooding in the already soggy region

In this view looking north, flood water crosses over Interstate 5 at Williams backing up traffic in both north and southbound lanes for hours on Saturday

The National Weather Service has reportedly urged California residents to be ready to leave their homes on a moment's notice

The National Weather Service has reportedly urged California residents to be ready to leave their homes on a moment’s notice

The first outer rain bands from the powerful Pacific storm headed to Northern California brought light rain and wind and renewed warnings of possibly dangerous flooding in the already soggy region on Sunday.

More wet weather is expected on Monday and Tuesday, and officials are preparing for the worst after Southern California was devastated by the strongest storm in decades earlier this week.

The National Weather Service has reportedly urged California residents to be ready to leave their homes on a moment’s notice.

Flood water crosses over Interstate 5 at Williams backing up traffic in both north and southbound lanes for hours on Saturday in Williams, Calif. Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area were facing a weekend return of heavy rain and winds that lashed them earlier in the week before the storm moves out

Flood water crosses over Interstate 5 at Williams backing up traffic in both north and southbound lanes for hours on Saturday in Williams, Calif. Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area were facing a weekend return of heavy rain and winds that lashed them earlier in the week before the storm moves out

discussion post said: ‘If you were given less than 15 minutes to evacuate your home would you have everything you need and gas in your vehicle?’

It continued: ‘Northern California has become very vulnerable since being hit continuously with storms since early January and we want all residents in our region to plan ahead and be prepared.’

The San Joaquin River at a measuring station near Vernalis remained at ‘danger stage,’ meaning it keeps approaching the top of levees, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.

Daly says residents of low-lying areas have been told to be ready to evacuate, especially those in San Joaquin River Club, a riverside, private neighborhood of 800 homes 10 miles south of Tracy

‘We have a levee response team, a sand bagging team, teams to check on what walkers checking on the levees find,’ Martin said. ‘Our community is pulling together like real champs.’

Water was also receding in the farm community of Maxwell, where dozens of people sought higher ground after creeks topped their banks and inundated houses on Friday, said Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Jim Saso said.

Nobody was hurt as crews used boats to rescue residents from a low-lying neighborhood.

‘We’re telling those people to keep a bag close by and get ready to leave again,’ Saso said. ‘If the water comes back up, it’s going to be those areas affected.’

‘Widespread flooding will be likely as an atmospheric river (of moisture) takes aim somewhere along the central California coast,’ the National Weather Service said.

A flooded Interstate 5 snarled traffic for miles on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Maxwell, Calif. Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area were facing a weekend return of heavy rain and winds that lashed them earlier in the week before the storm moves out

A flooded Interstate 5 snarled traffic for miles on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Maxwell, Calif. Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area were facing a weekend return of heavy rain and winds that lashed them earlier in the week before the storm moves out

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Editor:

Now look at the following images from the 2011 floods in Brisbane Australia, where residents were lulled into a false security that the  local dam releases were calculated and measured, and would have limited impact. Even if Oroville Dam holds there will challenging days ahead.

 

Brisbane Or Sacramento?

2011: Roads, highways, and whole suburbs cutoff on the outskirts of Brisbane

Wivenhoe Dam or Oroville Dam?

 

Brisbane or Redding?

 

Streets of inner Brisbane or ?

 

Expensive suburbs: houses completely gutted along the Brisbane river