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Oroville Dam Spillway Release & Feather River | March 2011

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Published on Apr 12, 2011

On March 16, 2011, Oroville Dam began releasing excess water from Lake Oroville for the first time in nearly five years, in an effort to decrease unseasonably high lake levels, and equilize the rate of high lake inflow from recent snowmelt combined with the overwhelming rate of rainfall runoff from several huge storms that swept through the area. Some areas of the northern Sierra Nevada mountains received upwards of 15 to 20 inches of rainfall during the first three weeks of March, in addition to several feet of snow that had fallen in some areas.

Flows on the Feather River below Oroville Dam were considerably higher than normal on Wednesday March 16th. I was on scene during this first day of water releases to capture shots both below and above the spillway at Oroville Dam as well as the increased river flow through the mid section of the city of Oroville. On March 15th, the release to the Feather River at Oroville Dam was increased from about 700 cubic feet per second (CFS) to around 10,000 CFS of water. Another series of large storms that approached northern California during the weekend of March 18th would cause another increase to the water releases late that day, and by March 19th, the release to the Feather River was at 18,000 CFS. The river would rise another 2 to 3 feet after this video was shot.

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