Results 1 to 35 of 35

Thread: OROVILLE, Calif? Hope you are OK!

  1. #1
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Greer, sc, USA.
    Posts
    9,693

    OROVILLE, Calif? Hope you are OK!

    Having my morning coffee, turned on the news, and saw the report about an evacuation due to a potential catastrophic collapse of a huge dam. If I heard right, the report claimed the tallest dam in the country. (I thought that was Hoover dam) When seeing something like this, due to participating with folks on this forum, I always wonder about our members in that state and if any are affected. I know California is a large expansive state, and members are scattered throughout. So, I hope all and their cars are not in harms way.

    A couple of things got my attention. The news said that an immediate evacuation was ordered, and residents were told to get out and leave everything behind! Then, they said something about it being an earthen dam. So, I googled it and it looks like the dam is concrete. I also noticed that there is more than one dam, so I'm not sure what is involved.

    Anyway, I hope any of you, if nearby, or affected, are safe. It is easy to ignore these type of stories regarding people in "faraway" places. But imagine yourself in their place for a moment, be thankful it's not you, & whisper a little prayer for them.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
    [IMG][/IMG]
    SDC member since 1975

  2. #2
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    The main Dam is earthen. At the bottom of it there is an outlet discharging into the feather river.

    If there is too much flow to all go through the outlet it will run over the emergency spillway to the left of the main discharge. This spillway goes over the top of the dam and is covered with concrete. It runs down a concrete lined course which is maybe as big as a four lane highway with no median. This has concrete sides too.

    This concrete lined spillway is coming apart.

    There is a third course for water to in case the water is too high for the primary spillway which is just an earthen hillside with trees and such on it. Knowing the water level was going to get higher they spent a couple days cutting the trees down on this third avenue for water to go down. Enough water flowed through that that it cut a huge rut over to the concrete spillway.

    The Dam itself is said to be built on bedrock so cannot be washed away, however as these other parts are being washed away apparently the dam itself is in danger of being compromised.

    Earthen dams are always designed so water cannot flow over the top in any anticipated rain fall, as that will cut them down ruthlessly.

    Obviously what was anticipated was exceeded in this event....or perhaps the dam built in 1967 is just beginning to be weakened with age.

    Dams are very very dangerous structures when compromised. The power of water is awesome and relentless....until it levels the flow through the compromised dam.

    One place i read it would flood Oroville with 30' of water. Another source mentioned 100' of water. Either way you don't want to be there if the dam fails as it will come down the river course like a tsunami.

    There was fear yesterday that the dam would fail overnight.
    Last edited by t walgamuth; 02-13-2017 at 06:24 AM.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  3. #3
    President Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada.
    Posts
    804
    I wonder what these folk were looking for in 2013....maybe they should have brought some duct tape

    https://i2.wp.com/fcdn.mtbr.com/atta...8_n.jpg?zoom=2
    Bill Foy
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    1953 Starlight Coupe

  4. #4
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dundee, Oregon
    Posts
    2,688
    That looks like about where the hole appeared. Did they have a concern about this spot well before the hole appeared??? Hmm.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

  5. #5
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    British Columbia & Arizona
    Posts
    1,645
    John & others,
    Sonja & I just returned from Sal's place (picking up LS1214) which is only one hour south of this dam. The relief of the land is extremely flat here being just 50 feet above sea level with the dam at 770'. We hope he & his family are OK 'cause it was real wet near there. Sonja saw a stop sign in a park and only the sign's top was showing. Pretty scary stuff.
    Bill

  6. #6
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    I imagine the area below the dam is already flooded. they have had the main gate open full blast trying to let through as much as possible.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  7. #7
    President Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Perris, Ca. & Seligman, Az USA.
    Posts
    4,888
    My thoughts were of our friends there too. Here we have a reservoir, Lake Mathews, that is mostly earthen sided. Almost every time I drive past it I think of what might happen if it let go as in an earthquake, with all the homes nearby & below. Lets hope that all being done at Oroville right now is successful & not too little too late.
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
    64 Zip Van
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

  8. #8
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Perkins, OK, USA.
    Posts
    4,822
    Pat Dilling posted on Facebook last night that they were evacuating... have not seen an update yet.

    Dave Lester

  9. #9
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    British Columbia & Arizona
    Posts
    1,645
    I just heard from Sal and he and family are AOK and not in any imminent danger. Apparently if the dam fails the flow path is well west of him on a natural floodplain.
    Bill

  10. #10
    President Member 55coupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Citrus Heights CA, , .
    Posts
    619
    I talked to Pat last night he and Kate were on the way to his daughter's place. The dam story was on national news today. So far so good we can only hope that rain from now on will be in smaller amounts than we have seen so far.

  11. #11
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Above the Equator
    Posts
    1,498
    This dam incident must be urban legend. California is still considered in a drought and they are at this time talking about raising our water rates (again) 30% because of it.

    Seriously though I hope everyone down stream will be OK. Even a temporary evacuation causes great difficulty even if there is no eventual damage.
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-69 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

  12. #12
    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa, USA.
    Posts
    13,472
    Quote Originally Posted by wittsend View Post
    This dam incident must be urban legend.
    That's rich!

  13. #13
    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA.
    Posts
    8,678
    Blog Entries
    2
    Looks like as of tonight things are stable. CWA is trying to get the water level down 70 ft. from full to prepare for more inflow expected later this week when another storm moves in; they've got about 3 days to try and do a makeshift repair on the hole in the main spillway. I hope things will be OK, but odds are iffy.
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

  14. #14
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    That's not very long for concrete to set up. Pouring in big rocks doesn't seem like it would work either.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  15. #15
    President Member 55coupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Citrus Heights CA, , .
    Posts
    619
    What could possibly go wrong.

  16. #16
    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA.
    Posts
    8,678
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
    Pouring in big rocks doesn't seem like it would work either.
    It won't. They tried the same thing at Teton Dam in '76, and it was useless.
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

  17. #17
    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa, USA.
    Posts
    13,472
    Residents can return now, with the understanding that they may have to leave again on a moments notice with another storm on the way.
    The consensus is that corners were cut fifty years ago when the dam was built; and that it must be corrected if habitation of the valley is expected to last; which it is.
    Minimal estimates of the correction start at $500 Million and, without federal support, the cost will fall to the farmers in the Imperial Valley and the tap water users in Southern Cal. Expect more increases in produce prices.

  18. #18
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    12,578
    Quote Originally Posted by rockne10 View Post
    Residents can return now, with the understanding that they may have to leave again on a moments notice with another storm on the way.
    The consensus is that corners were cut fifty years ago when the dam was built; and that it must be corrected if habitation of the valley is expected to last; which it is.
    Minimal estimates of the correction start at $500 Million and, without federal support, the cost will fall to the farmers in the Imperial Valley and the tap water users in Southern Cal. Expect more increases in produce prices.
    I really don't feel this is the time to be thinking about MONEY!

  19. #19
    President Member Lothar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Holdrege, NE, USA.
    Posts
    1,246
    Quote Originally Posted by SN-60 View Post
    I really don't feel this is the time to be thinking about MONEY!
    The potential (looming?) failure of Oroville Dam is an extremely serious situation. Tom Walgamuth's explanation of the problem and analysis of the situation are very clear and concise from what I know with my limited knowledge of this type of structure. MUCH more accurate than most media accounts. What no one has yet explained to my satisfaction is what is the nature of the emergency spillway material? I assume that its soil over bedrock, but what type of bedrock? If I knew that information (I will look for it online, now that I think about it), I would have a clearer idea of how erodible it is.
    Also, I don't think that Brad is in any way downplaying concern about affected people by pointing out that fixing the problem will cost money and we all will need to pay a share of that cost, directly or indirectly.
    John
    1950 Champion
    W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
    Holdrege NE

  20. #20
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    Thanks John.

    The emergency spillway I read today is earth with a concrete lip. This is what they fear might fail, it being 30' high so I suppose that means that after the 30' earth structure there is bedrock....although it seems to me that an earth dam can fail about anyplace as the water can seep through.

    Once that starts happening I believe its just a matter of time until the dam fails.

    As for money, yes, that is the question. These western dams provide water to CA's enormous agricultural business and the result financially if they fail would be huge.

    I heard tonight that there are hundreds of dams around the country that were designed with a 50 year life in mind which now are 50 years old and older.

    I know the Hoover dam was constructed by first building diversion tunnels through the bedrock so the river could be completely run past the area where the dam was to be constructed. It seems to me that we must provide such total bypass mechanisms in every dam project so it can be rebuilt safely when it has reached its design life.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  21. #21
    President Member Lothar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Holdrege, NE, USA.
    Posts
    1,246
    This article in Forbes magazine answered my questions about the geology of the dam spillway. It doesn't look like a good situation. I hope and pray that the dam holds through the spring. If it can, then CA DWR and the feds might have enough time to really fix the spillways before next winter.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbre.../#375eb15b1925

    This is a very well-written article, if you're interested in this detail of the subject.
    John
    1950 Champion
    W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
    Holdrege NE

  22. #22
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    Good article. Here is the part which leaps out at me: but the ground of the emergency spillway consists of backfilled soil. This is a cheap and effective method to build dams, but it's also prone to erosion by fast flowing water, especially if the soil becomes soaked with it. Thus, the running water of the spillover is washing away soil, earth and rocks, forming deep gullies. The erosion front is creeping upslope as water flows down the slope.

    Building it up to support the spillway with soil instead of proper fill material was foolhardy. Its fine until you actually flow a flood over it...Yikes!
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  23. #23
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dundee, Oregon
    Posts
    2,688
    Its raining buckets here in Oregon. This is the same storm hitting northern California right now. I hope the dam holds.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

  24. #24
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    Yep. Me too. they have lowered the lake level by as much as they can to make room for the storm water coming in. Trouble is you don't know when it will start or stop raining.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  25. #25
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    I just read that the water is now 30' below the top of the dam. Good!
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  26. #26
    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa, USA.
    Posts
    13,472
    Quote Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
    I just read that the water is now 30' below the top of the dam. Good!
    With the sluices still at full bore the residents below the dam can probably rest easy for the season.
    But a correction to this dam MUST be made at GREAT expense. The take-away here eludes no one!
    We can relate this to our auto restorations. If we are going to go on the cheap the first time, we are going to exponentially multiply the future expense.
    Scrapping a poor auto restoration does not jeopardize the lives threatened by scrapping a poorly financed dam.

  27. #27
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    12,578
    Quote Originally Posted by rockne10 View Post
    With the sluices still at full bore the residents below the dam can probably rest easy for the season.
    But a correction to this dam MUST be made at GREAT expense. The take-away here eludes no one!
    We can relate this to our auto restorations. If we are going to go on the cheap the first time, we are going to exponentially multiply the future expense.
    Scrapping a poor auto restoration does not jeopardize the lives threatened by scrapping a poorly financed dam.

    MONEY again???...Brad, that really isn't the issue right now!!!

  28. #28
    President Member Sdude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dixon, CA, USA.
    Posts
    3,024
    Pat escaped his home in his studebaker and put his 68 Biscayne up on the lift. He lives far enough downstream to not see water that surpasses that. He has returned home and is getting better prepared should he have to evacuate again. We have other members in the area and hope to see them at our meeting this Sunday at the California Auto Museum in Sacramento. Scary situation right in the middle of Karel Staple Chapter's turf. They are working around the clock to shore things up and continue to reduce the level of the lake to handle the rain water expected in the next storm due at any time. Rivers are overflowing all over Northern California. We all appreciate your concern and prayers.
    Jon Stalnaker
    Karel Staple Chapter SDC

  29. #29
    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa, USA.
    Posts
    13,472
    Quote Originally Posted by SN-60 View Post
    MONEY again???...Brad, that really isn't the issue right now!!!
    Tell that to the people who live below the dam.

  30. #30
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    Looks like they have to repair the primary spillway first, then rebuild the section which is the backup or secondary earth spillway. I suppose a temporary dam will have to be built to contain that part of the lake so they can rebuild the secondary spillway.

    Sounds expensive. I am guessing that taking the dam down is not an option financially because of the need for the water storage.

    And it sounds like this is a wake up call to look hard at a whole list of other dams which may be in need of rebuilding.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  31. #31
    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA.
    Posts
    8,678
    Blog Entries
    2
    It's going to be a hell of a storm for the next 4 days. They're predicting 2" with high winds in San Diego County alone tomorrow, with the system moving Northwest steadily. I hope they've drained enough from Oroville to cope with what's to come.
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

  32. #32
    President Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Perris, Ca. & Seligman, Az USA.
    Posts
    4,888
    I've heard that a lot of that water is for So. California. If that's the case then I guess we can expect another rate increase for this, on top of the rate increases given already to "encourage" conservation & the drought. One would think that those increases would go back to their original rates but I guess that's like expecting taxes to go down, something unheard of here.
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
    64 Zip Van
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

  33. #33
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    British Columbia & Arizona
    Posts
    1,645
    It's unfortunate no one had the insight to do the repairs/upgrades two years ago when levels were at record lows and no storms predicted for the future. Pretty typical of government officials.

  34. #34
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    lafayette in
    Posts
    3,963
    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzard View Post
    It's unfortunate no one had the insight to do the repairs/upgrades two years ago when levels were at record lows and no storms predicted for the future. Pretty typical of government officials.
    Maybe no funds from the legislature to do the work.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  35. #35
    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA.
    Posts
    8,678
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzard View Post
    It's unfortunate no one had the insight to do the repairs/upgrades two years ago when levels were at record lows and no storms predicted for the future. Pretty typical of government officials.

    Government works the same way people kill bugs. They only squash the ones that run right in front of them
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •