According to officials working with Governor Jerry Brown’s office, the emergency evacuation order is still in effect in order to help local authorities deal with the potential for flooding from Oroville Dam spillways. In a statement issued on Sunday, February 12th, Gov. Brown said the complex circumstances are rapidly changing and expressed his gratitude towards local law enforcement agencies for their effort to keep the residents out of harm’s way. He added that the state is directing all resources and necessary personnel to deal with the issue at hand.
Even though state officials deemed the situation under control, Kory Honea, Butte County Sheriff said the evacuation order will not be lifted yet. The measure comes as a direct result of Kory Honea’s concerns regarding public safety and the uncertainty surrounding the spillways’ current condition.
“I’m not going to lift the evacuation order until I have a better idea of what that means and what risk that poses”, said Kory Honea.
Authorities estimate 188,000 received notice of the evacuation order. However, in spite of the large number of people leaving their homes, local law enforcement agencies said no looting has been reported in the area and such concerns are unnecessary. On late Sunday, authorities were scouring the area in Oroville and nearby communities. Kory Honea said no crimes have been reported so far. Furthermore, he added that most Chicago hotels were full by Sunday evening, as evacuation centers throughout the area have opened for evicted residents.
During a press conference, officials said the water level dropped considerably thanks to the 100,000 cubic feet of water per second spilled through the emergency spillway. The main goal is to get the water level to drop 50 feet, said a Cal Fire chief, Kevin Lawson. So far, the water level has dropped just below the lip of the spillway. Nevertheless, this gives room to the authorities to inspect the area. Ultimately, Kevin Lawson praised the authorities’ decision to issue the evacuation order, as catastrophic flooding incidents in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s battered thousands of residents in this area. Sunday’s Evacuation order also affected more than 162,000 Sutter, Butte, and Yuba counties residents, according to census figures.
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