Watch: Drone flies over auxiliary spillway at Lake Oroville
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Sunday night that “there is no imminent threat” to Sacramento if the Oroville Dam emergency spillway fails.
Steinberg said that he and City Manager Howard Chan had spoken to Department of Water Resources officials about the situation and will meet in the morning with them for an update. The mayor said the city had emergency plans for flooding that could be initiated if the threat escalates, but didn’t currently see a need to deploy those measures.
Steinberg spokeswoman Kelly Rivas said the city’s Office of Emergency Services expected that any water released in a spillway failure could be diverted from the city via the Sacramento Weir and the Fremont Weir in the Yolo Bypass.
“The flood system as a whole is capable of absorbing that level of water,” said Rivas.
Chan said the earliest that Oroville flood waters would reach the Sacramento area would be 12 hours after a spillway failure, based on his conversations with state water officials. He said, however, that the Fremont and Sacramento weirs would be able to divert water into the bypasses away from Sacramento.
Steinberg said that his office would continue to monitor the situation and provide Sacramento residents with updates.
In a post on social media, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby told residents in Natomas, “I am in touch with city emergency services... right now we are fine, monitoring closely what’s happening north of us.”
She added, “Always a good idea to have a plan, be prepared – but know right now that we are fine.”
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said at 7:10 p.m., “There remains no imminent threat to our city from the Oroville Dam situation, and we are not contemplating any evacuation order. The expanse between us and the dam is broad and flat, enough to dissipate floodwaters in nearly all failure scenarios.”
Some of those being evacuated in Sutter and Yuba counties said they are planning to stay in Sacramento hotels for the night.
Residents are reserving hotel rooms along Highway 99 and Interstate 5 near the Sacramento International Airport. The Homewood Suites by Hilton started getting calls around 6 p.m., said front desk agent Gao Hang. Twenty reservations were made within the hour in back-to-back phone calls.
“They didn’t care about the price at all because they just need a place to go,” she said. “It’s not just us.”
Two neighboring hotels are filling up as well, she said. The Homewood Suites is about 75 percent reserved so far.
Steinberg said he was reaching out to mayors of cities being evacuated. The Sacramento Police Department has sent personnel to help with evacuations.