Monday, February 13, 2017

Its the dam talk of the whole town.

I mean, everyone is talking about it. The Oroville dam. So of course almost every conversation turns in that direction. But, one guy I talked to today said the following: We are next.

And it's the kind of thing that you laugh about and think - oh - you are so crazy. And then you stop short for a second kinda frozen inside with your eyes wide open. You see, we have a reservoir in our city. You kinda have to drive out of town to get to it, but the city sits on the backside. When I posted the pictures of that huge tree coming down it just so happened that the person who owns the house right next to  where it came down works in the park. As I was taking pictures the owners were out in front, so I yelled - what did that sound like coming down? And this sparked a conversation. She said she worked in the park and that they'd closed it because it was completely flooded. At the time she said she thought it would be closed for two weeks.

So, the first thing I asked this guy today was - is that park back open yet.? And he's like no. The parking lots are still flooded. It's going on close to three weeks now. He goes on to say that a few days ago someone hiked in and posted pictures and his "fishing rock" is still under 10 feet of water.

Now I don't think our dam could be compromised, but the earth is so saturated right now. I've never seen anything like it. And I grew up here. Even I'm surprised at how long the seepage keeps going and the draining isn't.

Maybe nothing happens, but April showers bring May flowers. Right? Really for California, this is time adjusted to March and April.

The next little period will be interesting. Shasta is like 7 feet from the brim and one of the other ones is like 5 feet from full. And I don't even know if any of these reservoirs have ever been completely full! All I know is there is really NO place for the water to go now.


  1. Actually, probably not, at least if rain isn't in the forecast ...

    Here's Oroville right now: Oroville Dam -- 14/02/2017

    922 is the critical elevation number there.

    Here's Shasta right now: Shasta Dam -- 14/02/2017

    1067 is the critical elevation number there.

    The 100k cubic feet/second number I mentioned for Oroville wasn't a guess -- if you poke around, you'll see a "SCH RES" field that shows up for scheduled release changes. It jumps from somewhere around 55k to 100k where it's staying for now.

    Try the "Daily ORO Data" and "Daily SHA Data" links for more details.

    Shasta is interesting because they're cranking the output into the river, yet they're also hardly doing anything with the spillway. My guess is that after what's happened at Oroville, the engineers at Shasta are taking no unnecessary risks.

    BTW, I have a well-earned cynicism of politicians, but it's journalists I really, really don't trust. That's why I just go right to the data when I can find it. :-)

  2. You know what I haven't seen any coverage of? The sinking levies north of Rio vista. They had to close one lane of the highway yesterday and turned it into a parking lot but total media blackout. df

  3. Oh yeah. Look at that. I've heard of some levee issues, but not even google is bringing any of that up. I do see a lot of articles from the 1980's. Which tells you how long that area has been a problem.

    It's slightly stunning at just how many freeways were impacted by this years storms. At least it looks like we will get a break after this next set. We might hobble through after all.

    Some day they will probably make a made for TV movie about saving the city. Seriously - one more day of rain could have made all the difference between "thing being fine" and things not being fine. They got so lucky.