Northern California is making national news again, this time, for Lake Oroville. For the last five years California has been in a record drought, with lake levels the lowest they had ever been. In January of this year, Sacramento, California had the wettest January on record with 9.92 inches of rain. February has continued the trend with the mountains near the Oroville Dam getting between 10 and 20 inches of rain between Wednesday February 8th and Friday February 10th. Residents of the towns surrounding the Oroville Dam were told they were safe, until they were all evacuated from their homes late Sunday, February 12th. While the Dam continues to hold strong, they had to open the emergency spillway for the first time ever, partly because of the spillway having damage, and partly due to the lake overflowing the banks of the dam. That is right, Lake Oroville was at more than 100% capacity.
Here are a couple of interesting statistics regarding Lake Oroville, and the dam, to give you better perspective. According to Lake Oroville’s website, it is one of the largest reservoirs in California, at over 3,500,000 acre feet. One acre foot of water equals 326,000 gallons of water. The dam itself is 770 feet high, the tallest in the U.S. and has been around since 1968.