The newly rebuilt Oroville spillway may get its first real test in coming days. The Department of Water Resources says it will open the spillway gates if the lake level rises beyond a certain point with the incoming storm. It would be the first time water is sent down the reconstructed concrete chute since the original broke apart during last year’s emergency.
The incoming Pineapple Express system is expected to drop as much as seven inches of rain over the Feather River Basin and create a significant amount of snow melt. The reservoir level currently stands at 793 feet above sea level. DWR says it will open the gates if the level reaches 830 feet. Engineers have stepped up releases from the dam in advance of the storm.