Nearly 200,000 people living downstream from the tallest dam in the US were ordered to evacuate their homes after a spillway appeared to be in danger of imminent collapse. After years of drought, California is suffering a series of huge rainstorms that have rapidly raised the water level in the dam.  Water level was less than 7 feet (2 meters) from the top of the dam. To allow flood control, the dam has been undergoing controlled discharges of water through the spillway.  After such a release water, major damage was noted on the spillway, apparently caused by the failure of the concrete base and then erosion of the underlying substrate. The emergency spillway was used for the first time as the water level within the lake exceeded the inflow. Officials detected erosion developing at the edge of the the emergency spillway so the flow down the main spillway  was doubled and people downstream were evacuated.

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