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Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform.
It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.“If this doesn’t galvanize action, I don’t know what will,” Mount said he thought at the time.
The risk of flooding has dropped substantially, but Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea warned residents Wednesday that they remain in "an emergency situation."Although Butte County sheriff’s officials say there were no reports of looting during recent evacuations below Ororville Dam, there were a handful of burglaries and robberies that targeted fleeing residents, officials said.
The incidents began Sunday night, hours after authorities ordered more than 100,000 people to flee to high ground, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.
Tailed by state Department of Water Resources employees who became suspicious, Matlock ran away when his vehicle got stuck on railroad tracks, investigators said.
They were 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% full, respectively, Croyle said.
Rain falling onto the slurry and a small stream that had formed on the hillside Friday did not worry DWR engineers, he said.
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