February 19, 2017 - A. V. Rauf
When the Levee Breaks
- If it keeps on rainin’ levees goin’ to break,
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’ going’ to break……
Such are the lyrics of a popular Blues song written and recorded back in 1929 that was written in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.
However, we aren’t talking about levees and rivers here. The issue at hand happens to be a Dam. Not just a standard Dam, but the tallest Dam in the United States of America. One that rises 770 feet high and is holding back a resorvoir containing 1.1 trillion gallons of water. I am referring to the Oroville Dam in northern California.
After a long stretch of no rain and drought-like conditions for a span of almost five years, winterstorms and atmospheric rivers over the past few weeks have drenched the northern parts of California. As a result, the Oroville Dam was reportedly at 151 % of normal capacity. Not a a major problem so as long as your chute in the spillway is operable. Just a few weeks ago, a massive, gaping hole opened up the chute of the Spillway of the Oroville Dam.
As a result, the water spilled over the spillway and began eating away at the very ground beneath the top of the auxiliary spillway. Dozens of towns in between Oroville and Sacramento are at risk were the spillway to collapse. Well, just when the situation seemed to have stabilized, along comes a new storm.
Now I am not making up this next part: the name given to storm is……LUCIFER. What are the odds? Anyways, incredible amounts of rain have accumalated within the last two months alone coupled with an abundance of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Even Lake Tahoe has benefitted from this. As a matter of fact, since the beginning of 2017, the state of California has received over 200% above what is concerned normal rainfall for this time of the year.
Enter Lucifer (mere coincidence I suppose), a storm that is projected to dump another 12 inches of rain over the weekend alone. The forecast also calls for even more rain next week.
Job 38:22-30—Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
One must keep in mind that America’s dam infrastructure is not in the greatest of working conditions. The Oroville Dam itself was built in 1960’s and is experiencing wear and tear as of late. It doesn’t help to know that over the last few days there have been reported tremors as two earthquakes have been reported. These quakes that are in the 5.0 range! Could this have been caused by the fast lake level changes and the subsequent release of pressure from water weight?
The city of Sacaramento is already reportedly experiencing some flooding. If something were to happen, the only means of escape would be eastward. Will President Trump have to declare a State of Emergency for the State of California?
If it keeps on raining, is the levee indeed going to break?