The Latest: Surge of rainwaters raises Lake Oroville level
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a Northern California storm (all times local):
Water flows into Lake Oroville are picking up as rain hammers Northern California and state officials warn they may have to use a partially rebuilt spillway at the troubled dam.
Feather River flows into the lake began exceeding water being released around noon on Friday. The lake level rose slightly but was still around 793 feet (242 meters)
California Department of Water Resources officials say they’ll use the main spillway if the water level reaches 830 feet (253 meters) but they hope to avoid it.
The spillway was destroyed last year during a crisis that forced the evacuation of downstream towns amid fears of catastrophic flooding. About a third of it has been fully rebuilt with reinforced structural concrete but the rest has temporary repairs.
State officials say it’s safe to use if needed.
Yosemite National Park is closing to visitors ahead of a spring storm that is expected to bring flooding to the popular valley floor.
Visitors will no longer be able to enter Yosemite Valley starting at noon Friday, and tourists who are already there will be asked to leave at 5 p.m. No services will be available.
Park officials say some areas will reach flood stage starting Friday afternoon, with water expected to peak around noon Saturday.
Yosemite initially announced it was canceling campground reservations but then upgraded the warnings.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch.
Officials in Northern California also are monitoring the nation’s tallest dam, where the partially rebuilt spillway may be used for the first time since its near-collapse in February 2017.
The big storm entering Northern California is not expected to threaten areas recently scarred by wildfires in the southern half of the state.
Santa Barbara County officials say the rainfall predicted for Friday and Saturday doesn’t meet thresholds for evacuations and there is, at most, very low risk for mud and debris flows.
The south Santa Barbara County community of Montecito was devastated by massive debris-laden torrents on Jan. 9 when a storm unleashed a deluge on a huge burn scar in the mountains above town.
County officials say they are monitoring the storm in case it intensifies.
Most of Southern California will get little to no rain but gusty winds are expected in the mountains and deserts while beaches will see high surf.
Authorities are warning morning commuters to drive slowly and watch out for standing water as heavy rain pelts Northern California.
A spring storm is expected to dump several inches of rain on burn-scarred areas of wine country through Saturday.
Santa Rosa fire department spokesman Paul Lowenthal says the city has additional firefighters and emergency staff on hand Friday.
The storm could also bring the biggest test so far of a partly finished new spillway at the nation’s tallest dam.
Northern California is bracing for a major spring storm that is expected to dump several inches of rain on burn-scarred areas of wine country. It could also bring the biggest test so far of a partly finished new spillway at the nation’s tallest dam.
The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings throughout Northern California ahead of Friday’s atmospheric river.
Officials in Santa Rosa are more concerned about how quickly the rain comes than how much. Fire department spokesman Paul Lowenthal says workers have been monitoring hundreds of storm drain inlets, especially the ones protecting the neighborhoods destroyed by the fires.
To the north, state water officials have been releasing water from Lake Oroville ahead of the storm.