People living near California's damaged Oroville Dam can return home, but coming storms could send them packing again. Authorities reduced the mandatory evacuation orders to an "evacuation warning," meaning they could be forced to evacuate again if the risk increases.
Rod Remocal, who lives in Biggs, west of Lake Oroville, says he and his wife were almost home an hour after official announced an evacuation ordered had been lifted. Remocal says they took a long route back and saw police and deputies from across Northern California stationed at every major intersection.
A possible threat are storms that could start as soon as tomorrow and last through the weekend. Those storms are expected to be colder, with less rain. Therefore, not as much water is expected to flow into the reservoir behind Oroville Dam than drenching storms last week.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said evacuating nearly 200-thousand people from areas beneath the dam was the right call because it allowed authorities to take action that reduced the level of Lake Oroville. That prevented damage to the emergency spillway that was in danger of failing and will allow the dam hold the runoff from the coming storms.