The Oroville Dam Crisis: What Happened, What’s Next?

February 14th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

After watching the Oroville Dam crisis evolve over the last several days, and reading various experts’ opinions about what might be going on both with both the facility itself and behind the scenes decision-making, I thought it might be time to step back and discuss where we are at, and where we might be going.

The Dam Spillway Situation

First of all, the immediate crisis has passed. At this writing (4 a.m. PST Tuesday), the lake level has been lowered to 11 feet below the emergency spillway, and is dropping at a rate of about 8 feet per day. The goal is to get it to about 50 feet below the top of the concrete weir of the emergency spillway, which was topped by 1.5 feet at the peak of the crisis.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that in order to achieve this, the flow through the main concrete-lined spillway, which has been heavily damaged, has had to be increased to 100,000 cubic feet per second (CFS), creating a spectacular waterfall over the lip of the remaining portion of the concrete flume:

More on that later.

The other bad news is that the relatively brief use of the emergency spillway led to a lot more erosion into the rock below the concrete weir than engineers expected. This rapid erosion is why evacuations were suddenly ordered, since there were fears that it would backcut to the concrete weir, which was at risk of collapse:

One of two major eroded areas just below the emergency spillway of Oroville Dam (Feb. 13, 2017).

If that happened, a 30 ft. wall of water would cascade downstream. At least two large gouges are currently being patched with sacks of rock and some concrete. The emergency spillway was supposedly designed to handle 350,000 CFS, but it only took a day at 10,000 CFS to cause the damage, leading up to an official warning that the spillway could collapse within an hour and the mandatory evacuation order. (The main earthfill portion of the dam is in no danger, since the emergency spillway, 20 ft. below the level of the main dam, would keep the main dam from ever being topped).

My (admittedly non-expert) view of the situation is that the emergency spillway is of lesser concern at this point. Rains will return Wednesday night beginning a 7-day wet period during which 5 to 12 inches of water-equivalent precipitation will fall on the watershed:

Google Earth view of the watershed feeding Oroville Lake. Much of this area is above 4,500-5,000 ft. elevation, where winter precipitation usually falls as snow.

That might sound bad, but the good news is that most of that precipitation will fall as snow, except over the lake itself, in contrast to earlier warm rain events that led to the current crisis.

Despite the new precipitation, I suspect that they will be able to keep the lake level to around 850-860 feet or so, which is 40-50 feet below full-pool. It might briefly rise by 10-20 feet if the rain is exceptionally heavy. The main danger to Northern California dams is heavy rain events; spring snow melt typically occurs more slowly and is easier to handle by adjusting outflow from reservoirs.

I further suspect that concern will be shifted to the main spillway, the continuing heavy use of which is absolutely required in order to keep the lake level low enough to allow repairs to the emergency spillway, as long as there is significant runoff into the lake.

Close-up of damage to main spillway on Feb. 7; the concrete wall in the foreground has since been destroyed with considerable erosion of the adjacent hillside (SacBee photo).

The hydro plant generators have been shut down from debris, and they would have only allowed an additional 16,000 CFS outflow anyway. The diversion tunnels were damaged years ago and are unusable.

So, the damaged main spillway is essentially the only way that the reservoir can shed substantial volumes of water as rains occur, and as spring snow melt begins.

I predict that they will shut the main spillway down soon to see how fast the damage is eroding uphill. If I had to guess, I’d say that shutdown might actually happen today…a three hour shutdown will only reduce the lake level fall by 1 foot. They need to assess the situation, because…

A PR Disaster is Rapidly Approaching

From watching the daily press briefings, I think that the experts and emergency officials have been less than forthcoming on details. As dam expert Scott Cahill wrote yesterday, the public has been treated a little like children so far. Reporters’ questions have gone unanswered, and the experts opinions have careened between “no danger” and “imminent failure” in less than 24 hours. (Update: Scott Cahill has a new essay today about how no one is ever accountable anymore in disaster situations…it’s all review panels and committees….the buck is passed from person to person until no one knows who has the buck.)

This is NOT the way for “experts” to engender confidence in the public.

Of particular concern is the estimated 185,000 residents who have evacuated to higher ground, and are anxious to return to their homes. We live in an age where we want results now, and the longer these people have to wait with only general information being provided, the more anger and frustration will grow. Reporters are going to cover this frustration, with face-to-face interviews, and officials had better get ahead of the impending PR disaster while they can.

When will people be allowed home? I can only speculate. If emergency officials are being very cautious they might wait until the coming wet weather period has passed, which would be at least 10 days to make sure the lake does not rise too much, and until after they have verified the concrete flume of the main spillway isn’t eroding uphill very much.

Or, they could let people return at any time, warning them to keep alert for a possible future evacuation with little notice. I really dont know. If I had to guess, I’d say they will go the cautious route. But if they were to inspect the main spillway today and see only minor additional erosion uphill from where it previously was, maybe they will let people come home very soon.

No matter what happens in the coming days and weeks, Oroville Dam will remain an issue for months — maybe even years — to come. Repairs will be expensive and lengthy. And there will be second-guessing of decisions made, including the 12-year old report by experts that the emergency spillway was just fine as-is.

(A detailed chronological discussion of the Oroville issues by mainly geologists, along with some amazing photos, can be followed here.)

UPDATE: Mick West, Sacramento, provided this graphic which shows the volume of water that can be output from Lake Oroville at 100,000 CFS flow through the main spillway (area of the red box), versus what has flowed into the lake from precipitation in the last couple months (area under the blue curve). It suggests that the lake can probably be kept from completely filling again if 100,000 CFS outflow is maintained, with only temporary rises in lake level after heavy rain events:

Drone video of emergency spillway damage from evening of Feb. 13, 2017 (CA DWR).

144 Responses to “The Oroville Dam Crisis: What Happened, What’s Next?”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. barn E. rubble says:

    Plans are always perfect . . . until the battle begins.

  2. Lasse says:

    Excellent reporting.
    The dam is said to be flood preventing. That is maybe to say to much. But construction seams to work apart from the concrete failure in the spillway. No leaching has occurred.

  3. Beyond Concerned says:

    Dr. Spencer as someone that has lived in Northern California my whole life I would like to add a few details for your consideration. Regarding the upcoming storm falling as snow. They last storm came in warmer and wetter then predicted and it raised the lake 50′ in a couple of days. In my experience they often misjudge these storms. Around this time in 86′ a warm storm developed and melted all the snow in a couple of days. Regarding the lake level getting down to 850′. That will not happen by Thursday. At best they will get it down to 870′. Most critically the main spillway appears to be eroding up towards a cutoff point alluded to by an engineer in one of the early press conferences. In other words he pointed to a spot on the hillside that it would be unsafe to allow the erosion to pass. We seem to be at that point. Remember that they allowed the lake to over top because they were concerned about this erosion. It was not until emergency spillway nearly failed that they increased the flows on the main spillway. Trading one problem for another. The key question is can the main spillway hold up to the massive flows. As for the repairs to the emergency spillway? Do you really think that plugging those holes will help? It is a steep slope and the water will just seek the path of least resistance.

    • I doubt the repairs to the emergency spillway will help much if it ever needs to be used again…I’ll bet they avoid ever using it again. I agree that the main spillway is a huge wildcard. The precip forecast has been for mostly snow in every 6hr run of the GFS model for days now…but, as you say, forecasts aren’t perfect.

      • Beyond Concerned says:

        Do you have a link to the forecast? At what elevation is snow predicted to fall?

        • I use, which is $25/month. You can try it out for free. I think snow is supposed to be generally above 4,000 ft., which is over half of the watershed, I believe.

          • Beyond Concerned says:

            I just watched the local weather report for the Oroville watershed. “Lots of rain, some snow.”
            They went on to say that the construction crews on site are saying that it would take four months to fill in the gaps at the emergency spillway.

      • Beyon Concerned says:

        “Spillway repairs at the troubled Oroville Dam will get their first major test this weekend, as meteorologists have revised their forecast and are now predicting a much wetter and warmer storm outlook.”

        • Beyon Concerned says:

          This warmer storm has the potential to melt the snow pack. Meanwhile they are backing of the flows to 80,000 cfs.

  4. Beyond Concerned says:

    “That might sound bad, but the good news is that most of that precipitation will fall as snow, except over the lake itself, in contrast to earlier warm rain events that led to the current crisis.”

    The lake is at 900′. Predicted snow levels are 3000-7000 feet. So no most of the upcoming storm is not going to fall as snow. This late in the season these storms often come in warmer than predicted. Just ask any skier in Northern California. They even have a term for it. Sierra Cement. Which is formed when a warm storm rains on the snow.

  5. George Applegate says:

    If the weir is indeed built on regolith and not solid bedrock, no temporary repairs are possible. If used again, the erosion in other areas will continue until the weir inevitably fails. In that case, an eventual permanent fix may mean removing the weir and replacing it. If that is the long-term path, why not lower the lake and blast the weir now, creating an irregular but stable emergency spillway?

    The disaster risk is of a sudden failure sending 30 feet of lake down the river. Removing the weir now, before the level rises, would prevent that.

    • Interesting suggestion. I don’t know enough to comment.

      • wert says:

        Very interesting and workable solution, but does anybody know for sure if the ‘weir’ (new word for me) is built on bedrock and capable standing the erosion downhill or not?

        I guess it is not easy to be certain. There are old drawings but can they be located? Can they be trusted on?

        Sacrificing the weir and some 50 feet of water could help, but not by this week. You cant safely detonate the weir nor lower the water level enough.

      • George Applegate says:

        In this CHP video they’re dropping the bags of rocks at the far end of the boat ramp parking, beyond the weir, not in the ravine that is being talked about.

        • Clare Krishan says:

          The parking lot has no engineered substrate (the weir presumably is secured by pilings sunk into the hillside) so the run-off water could erode a v-notch channel in the *crest* and empty the reservoir down BELOW the 815ft or so where the spillway channel was cut into the top of the bedrock. Then all bets are off, since the spillway will no longer have any drop of water in it, all water will be exiting stage left. Worst case it won’t be exiting straight down hill to the river but following striation lamination fractures in the metamorphic gneiss-schist bedrock (inclined at 45 degrees or so, directing the flow rightwards at the spillway, and worst worst case if that crumbles as is likely if gravity has a say in the matter the crest will tumble like a zipper unzipping and then wash away the dam itself.

          Not trying to alarm, just explain why they’re repairing the corner of the parking lot – its *ground zero* so to speak. If it goes below 900ft, that the new max. level for infill to overtop, very bad news indeed.

    • Bart says:

      I am not even qualified enough to be called a dilettante in these matters, but my impressions are:

      A) the main spillway cannot handle the flow needed to lower the lake enough in the time before the next storm

      B) significant flow from the emergency path can erode the foundations of the dam itself, which would be very bad, indeed

      As I said, these are just my impressions from hopping across the news articles, and I am not even remotely an expert. If anyone has a different perspective, I am all ears. This has been a fascinating journey into a field to which I have never given much thought, and I thank Dr. Spencer for keeping me abreast of things.

    • Lasse says:

      It is common procedure to inject concrete in bad rock or even earthfill.
      At least in my part of the world.

    • Scott Gates says:

      The ogee weir of the emergency spillway is built on bedrock … construction documents show that builders went to considerable effort and additional expense including overcutting and back-filling with concrete to get solid foundational bedrock.

      The weir is 50-60 feet tall. It is 48 feet at its base, plus a 12′ wide, 6′ thick concrete “toe” … making the contact area of the weir at base appx 60 feet. Additionally there is an appx 6′ thick by 10′ wide “key” in the base that provides addtl support.

      The ~900′ emergency weir weighs something in the range of 80,000 to 130,000 tons … as much as 235 million pounds. It is also backfilled on the front and backsides with soil.

      “In part of the emergency spillway, an additional 10 feet of excavation was required to reach acceptable foundation rock, resulting in considerable additional time for excavation and placement of the backfill concrete to subgrade.”

      The erosion in the bench area was in weathered surface bedrock and did not threaten the bedrock foundation of the emergency weir. There were areas of concern but on review and understanding better the construction details and methods it is unlikely that the bedrock foundation would have been compromised.

      Page 133

      California State Water Project
      Volume III
      Storage Facilities
      Bulletin Number 200
      November 1974
      State of California – Resources Agency
      Department of Water Resources

  6. ren says:

    On February 16 in the forecast are huge snowfalls in the mountains.,39.22,3000
    February 17 it can be a massacre.,36.58,3000
    The bad news – the solar wind very weak and circulation slows down again.

  7. What you do in response to flash flooding can matter enormously. Back in the 1970s, a friend of mine was caught in one in Colorado. Two cars left from where she was staying in a mountain cabin. The first followed the initial warning they were given to turn left at a crossroad. My friend was in the second car. They became confused and asked a sheriff they met. He stressed that they must turn right at that crossroad.

    Turning left took the first car down into the river basin before going upward. Everyone in that car drown. Turning right immediately took those in the second car to higher ground. They were safe.

    What I recalled was apparently the Big Thompson Flood of 1976.

    “The monstrous flood took 143 lives and injured 150 people. Some bodies were carried away as far as 25 miles.”

    Specific situations vary, but often your best response isn’t the instinctive desire to run away from danger, meaning downstream. It is to seek higher ground as quickly as possible. Go up rather than away. You will never outrun a wall of water 20-feet high. As that article I linked notes: “One legacy of the historic event can be seen in the number of signs that now dot Colorado’s mountain roads and highways: ‘Climb to safety’ in case of flooding.”

    Here’s an excellent Colorado PBS documentary on that 1976 flood:

    –Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride (a novel where a teen girl must ride into danger to rescue her father from the Klan)

  8. ren says:

    Water still rising: Marysville cemetery today, there was ground visible yesterday.

  9. Phillip says:

    The public service always works as “no one is ever accountable anymore its all review panels and committees”. You don’t hear of people being sacked. The private sector works differently.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Phillip…”You dont hear of people being sacked. The private sector works differently”.

      We’ve noticed the drop in service her in BC, Canada since the government started privatizing the public sector. In a recent snowstorm, private contractors could not keep up with the demand and the highways had to be closed.

      Since the hospitals have been privatized, there are on-going complaints of poor sanitation and the inherent germs that breed, causing illness.

      There’s no incentive for private contractors to hire more people or provide better services, it cuts into their profit margin. In both the public and private sectors you get slackers of different kinds.

      It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    • David Appell says:

      The Sporting Club whose dam failure led to the Johnstown Flood and 2,200+ deaths, was never held accountable — it was ruled an “Act of God.” The survivors received no legal compensation.

      Wikipedia: “Individual members of the club, millionaires in their day, contributed to the recovery. Along with about half of the club members, Henry Clay Frick donated thousands of dollars to the relief effort in Johnstown. After the flood, Andrew Carnegie, already known as an industrialist and philanthropist, built the town a new library.”

  10. Eric says:

    I am curious why they don’t get some folks from public works that lay water supply piping down for a living to build a bunch of “straws” over the top of the emergency spillway that discharge down near the river. I don’t know how many 1 foot diameter water pipes it would take, but with enough of them, you should be able to draw from the lake and deliver to the river without erosion. At that elevation drop, the flow through those pipes would be significant. Maybe one of the hydro engineers on this blog could comment on how many one-foot diameter water pipes would be needed at that elevation drop to draw 100,000 CFS using siphon power alone. Need to get creative on how to start the siphon and secure the pipes, but I can think of many ways to do this. It is a bit old school, but it could work to eliminate the erosion and buy time to repair the damage (and get through the spring meltoff). They could just keep adding the pipes as fast as they can be fabricated until the draw is sufficient to stop the flow through the spillways. Is my perspective on the scale of this flow too narrow, or could this actually work? The materials should be easy enough to come by, as should the skilled labor needed to construct the “pipelines” down to the river.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Eric…”I am curious why they dont get some folks from public works that lay water supply piping down for a living to build a bunch of straws over the top of the emergency spillway…”

      They have massive pumps that could do the job. I have seen submersible pumps used on construction site to drain sumps. Surely they have bigger ones.

  11. Eric says:

    I just realized this “straw” idea would only work with water levels within 32′ of the top of the spillway. Still worth considering if the main spillway cannot keep up, or if erosion gets too great on the main spillway.

    • Lewis says:

      Eric, why is 32′ critical?

      Thanking you in advance.

      • michael hart says:

        Lewis, it is probably the maximum theoretical height of a siphon based on the vapor pressure of water. The wiki for siphons does indeed give 10 meters as being about the maximum.

        • Eric says:

          Exactly. If you drop a long (much greater than 32′) clear tube into a lake, and let it fill, then cap one end and raise the capped end out of the water (leaving the uncapped end below the surface), the highest the liquid water would stand in the tube would be ~32′. Everything above that height in the tube will be water vapor (the weight of the water below will reduce the pressure at the “surface” in the tube sufficiently to induce boiling). The only way around this would be to push the water in from below the surface with a pump, as Gordon suggests. I ran the numbers on siphons and realized the flow rates would require far too many of these tubes to be practical. Unless this could be done with colossal (4′ diameter or greater) tubes. Again, probably not practical. Getting enough pumps to push 100,000 cfs (3/4 million gallons per second) is probably not practical either. Too bad the dam’s “bypass tubes” are damaged. That would be the perfect solution to this problem. They would be wise to repair those tubes along with the rest when the time comes. Note: This is also why water wells beyond about 25′ deep employ “jet pumps” which use a venturi in a circulating flow (which requires priming) to raise water from deeper depths by running water over the venturi (creating lower pressure than atmospheric, drawing water into the flow). The downward pressure from the circulating water far exceeds atmospheric pressure, allowing the water to come up from greater depths without boiling. Below about 60′ even this becomes impractical, as the venturi cannot reduce pressure sufficiently below atmospheric pressure to draw water in from the well. Beyond those depths, you must move to a submersible pump. Suction pumps can never draw water to a height exceeding 32′ when relying only on atmospheric pressure…only water vapor will ever come out.

          • Eric says:

            Oh, and I forgot to mention the obvious. Even without boiling, atmospheric pressure can only push water 32′ up the pipe. If the water did not boil (for sake of discussion), there would just be a vacuum in the tube above the water.

  12. Robbie says:

    Thank you Dr. Spencer for your article. It’s the most info I’ve seen in one place. Let’s hope the officials in charge of dam take your advice.

  13. Dr No says:

    “From watching the daily press briefings, I think that the experts and emergency officials have been less than forthcoming on details. As dam expert Scott Cahill wrote yesterday, the public has been treated a little like children so far. .
    This is NOT the way for experts to engender confidence in the public.”

    Scott Cahill’s piece seems predicated on the dam being about to fail when it did not.

    I am unclear as to what details you claim the “experts” held back. In your opinion Tell me what they should have said and when.
    For example, was failure always a possibility?
    Was “no danger” correct or not?

    IMO the “experts” correctly never panicked, unlike yourself and many other “non-experts”.

    • If you have forgotten, 185,000 people were evacuated because the “experts” suddenly changed their mind about the stability of the emergency spillway, and were warning it could fail within an hour.

      Is that what you call “not panicking” by the experts?

      That was less than a day after they said they weren’t concerned.

      Cahill has done dam construction for decades, and is an expert.

      Yesterday a reporter asked if dam officials at the press conference were worried that both spillways were damaged, and the speaker was not allowed to answer.

      I stand by my statements.

      • Dr No says:

        Still, I am still unclear what you and others are alleging.
        Specifically, are you claiming the experts:

        (A) are incompetent and don’t really know what they are doing?
        If so, then say so. I see no evidence for this.

        (B) are indulging in some sort of conspiracy to hide the facts ?
        Well, what were these facts? What did they know and refused to tell us?
        Bear in mind that the whole event played out in full public view so it seems to me that we could clearly see for ourselves what was happening.

        Secondly, why would they indulge in a conspiracy? What sinister motives are you implying?

        Note that anything they did and said would have been done in the full knowledge that some sort of enquiry into their decisions will be held.

        As Lokenbr said previously:
        “It is easy to sit back an criticize (I am guilty) but imagine yourself in a decision makers shoes for a moment, in the heat of a very fluid situation (no pun intended). They are making decisions under heavy uncertainty. This shit is very real! We can gripe about what government authorities should have, or should not have done, but hey, most of us arent on the hot seat.”

        • David Appell says:

          I agree — none of us aren’t in the hot seat.

          It’s unfair to call for blood.

          • Eric Barnes says:

            I wouldn’t call for blood, but there is massive room for improvement with communications to the public. Agree? Disagree?

          • Mike M. says:

            None of us are in the hot seat and it would be unfair to call for blood. But we should demand better. The proper way to handle these things is to provide the public with full and honest information, without sugarcoating or exaggeration.

          • David Appell says:

            Eric: What room?

            Answering journalists’ questions, which are endless and include no consideration for the officials’ other responsibilities?

          • Eric Barnes says:

            I don’t think it needs to be complicated David. Look at warning levels for fire, or avalanche. Let the experts determine the odds of failure within orders of magnitude and communicate that with the public. Let individuals determine their level of readiness, and public safety officers can determine when evacuation orders are necessary.

          • David Appell says:

            Eric: In this situation, the dam officials did exactly what you recommend.

          • Eric Barnes says:

            Uh. No David. The communication went from no concern to life threatening in a heartbeat. Hat sort of binary information isn’t acceptable.

        • Mike M. says:

          I think the experts have been shading the truth, if not outright lying, in communicating information. They have been doing it because they think it is for the public’s own good.

          On Friday they kept saying that they thought they could avoid the emergency spillway even after it should have been clear that they could not do so without ramping up the main spillway flow.

          On Sunday, they were saying there was nothing to worry about up until a few hours before the evacuation. They should have been telling people to be ready, just in case, and providing information on what people should do to be ready.

          When the evacuation order went out, it was just short of “run for your lives” complete with a warning that the emergency spillway would likely collapse “within the hour”. Exagerrated, as it turns out.

          • David Appell says:

            Sounds like the dam officials admirably looked at the data anew and decided their previous decision was faulty.

            You prefer they’d stick to their original decision?

            No lives have been lost yet. Kudos to them.

          • Clare Krishan says:

            “Exagerrated, as it turns out.” ER NO.

            Not when they made the statement it wasn’t exaggerated, since they decided to attempt to “save the day” by opening the main sluice full throttle AFTER they saw they couldn’t allow the flow to continue flooding over the parking lot (which was eroding back to a spot in a natural gulley LOWER than the weir, and thus MUCH more hazardous, and why its being repaired — see video of Blackhawk helicopters dropping payload into hole in front of parking lot booth)

          • Mike M. says:

            David Appell wrote “You prefer theyd stick to their original decision?”
            Of course not. I’d prefer that they provide honest information and not treat the public like children.
            Their original decision appears to have been along the lines of “It is not likely people will have to evacuate, so let’s tell them there is no danger so people don’t panic”. Then the new decision was “The risk has gone up, so we should order and evacuation and tell people that the situation is really dire, so that they do as they are told”.

          • David Appell says:

            Mike M. says:
            “Of course not. Id prefer that they provide honest information and not treat the public like children.”

            The dam officials made a decision, and announced it.

            How did they treat the public like children??

            What more information did the public need?

        • H.B. Schmidt says:

          What’s being alleged is that no one wants to be the poor schmuck who sticks their neck out and assume responsibility. You can infer that it’s a conspiracy, but in reality it’s simply yet another game of bureaucratic shuffleboard politics, passing ownership of blame from one to another, as Dr. Spencer alluded to in his post.

        • David Appell says:

          Eric, the odds of failure are rarely that simple.

          When the earth started to erode below the emergency spillway, was that obviously going to continue, until the spillway failed? Or was it obviously going to hold?

          Real life can’t be summarized in documents for operations and maintenance.

      • David Appell says:

        Roy: What would you have done better, in that situation? Absent the benefit of hindsight…..

        • Jake says:

          OK, let me take a crack at it. Instead of wasting millions and millions of dollars on one-sided global warming research, part of which is spent on a few guys who troll the internet on a constant basis to blow up realistic thinking, I would have spent that money on the crumbling infrastructure of the country during a drought where money would have been saved due to lower reservoir levels.

          Since, realistically, we’re not going to shut down our energy needs on unreliable renewable’s no matter what the fortune tellers prognosticate. Temporary electricity loss due to storms is nearly enough to send the public into rioting.

          Instead, let’s champion legitimate options, like, maybe, Gen 3/4 nuclear …..

          Just sayin’ …………..

          • David Appell says:

            Why do you think that an ~ 5.5 F increase in global mean temperature is should be ignored?

          • papertiger says:

            You know the answer to that one Dave.

            Because there is no such thing as a global average temperature. That’s an abstract designed for charlatans and newspapers to sell windmills and panic.

            Even if local average temperatures rose 5.5 degrees F that would by no means be a catastrophe. Indeed it would be a God send for most of the world, permanently increasing the arable lands of the planet.

          • Arch Stanton says:

            You are aware that “fixing” the Oroville SPILLWAYS would have required that anyone knew there was even any problem – MINUS THE 3 LIBERAL GROUPS – to begin with?

          • wert says:

            You are aware that fixing the Oroville SPILLWAYS would have required that anyone knew there was even any problem

            If you run a dam, you will need to know. It is your responsibility.

        • lokenbr says:

          While I previously expressed my empathy for the folks in charge, there will certainly be some lessons learned here. There did appear to be some confusion and/or miscommunication regarding whether or not the emergency spillway would be overtopped or not, even though it was clear that it would be. The engineering profession hedges against it’s own ignorance with something called a safety factor – built in redundancy to account for all the unknowns in the natural world – the things that defy our best efforts to calculate. That is what the emergency spillway is. If everything does not go according to plan, then you still have backup. It was also untested. Once you get to that point you are operating without any further backup, with no margin for error, posing an unacceptable risk to the public.

          The emergency spillway is just that – when you need it, you are truly in an emergency situation. I think one of the lessons learned will surely be to evacuate sooner, the moment it becomes clear that the emergency spillway will be overtopped. 1 hour prior to catastrophe is not an acceptable amount of time to get people out of harm’s way. All’s well that ends well, but if things had gone the wrong way a lot of people would have died.

          • David Appell says:

            Wow, people did not react perfectly.

            Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

          • lokenbr says:

            That is one good reason to develop decision protocols. Helps when folks are under stress. And if you don’t learn from the past…

          • David Appell says:

            Alas, such protocols always fall apart at the first advance of the enemy.

          • lokenbr says:

            That is the problem isn’t it? These events are so infrequent. The people who designed and built the dam are long gone. Put in place a protocol and forget about it the next time it is required.

            We must not take away from the hard working people who have worked around the clock toiling to make things safe.

            But this is a pretty straightforward rule – emergency spillway projected to overtop, send out evacuation order – an early warning system could be fully automated.

          • wert says:

            Alas, such protocols always fall apart at the first advance of the enemy.

            Airplanes would not fly, nuclear reactors react or fire brigades fight fire if such protocols would not work to the extreme.

            What you need is not only the protocol, you need practice as in ‘just a practice’, you need self-assessment, peer-review, constant improvement. You put out the fire, you assess what went well, you practice what didn’t and follow the protocol.

      • David Appell says:

        Roy W. Spencer says:
        “If you have forgotten, 185,000 people were evacuated because the experts suddenly changed their mind about the stability of the emergency spillway, and were warning it could fail within an hour.”

        Why do you think you could have better?

        Roy, you’re exactly the kind of person who would find fault with the damn operators no matter WHAT they did.

        So let’s be realistic here.

        • lokenbr says:

          Do you think they would do the same thing next time?

        • wert says:

          Why do you think you could have better?

          The dam operator is responsible for not breaking the dam, and on the other hand, responsible of predicting when it breaks rather than saying “it’s ok, no actually RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.. oh, sorry, I think it’s ok.”

          There is no escape on that. We can’t stand sloppy dam driving. Dams are totally dangerous things when not cared well.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      dr no…”IMO the experts correctly never panicked, unlike yourself and many other non-experts”.

      The problem is not in the dam but in the spillways. However, if the spillways are destroyed there’s no telling what might happen to the dam sidewalls and the bedrock on which the dam is situated.

      As Roy said, they were evacuating people downriver to the point where there was massive congestion on the highways out of the area. I don’t care what the experts claim, the safe thing to do is evacuate the people.

      That’s not the same as the climate alarm action of acting based on pseudo-science. The danger with the dam is objective, the evidence is right there. Furthermore, there is vivid evidence of the results of a dam failing. I mentioned the Dambusters raid on a German dam in WW II. The results were devastating.

      • David Appell says:

        Gordon Robertson says:
        “Thats not the same as the climate alarm action of acting based on pseudo-science.”

        Gordon, you have repeatedly demonstrated that you have no idea what the science says.

        Do you should just shut up and stay out of it.

        • wert says:

          Gordon, you have repeatedly demonstrated that you have no idea what the science says.

          I think you have repeatedly demonstrated something not-flattering from yourself.

  14. ossqss says:

    So, you would do little Dr., no?

    Hummmm,,,,,,,,, wait a minute…..

  15. Beyond Concerned says:

    As long as they maintain 100,000 cfs they should be fine. As far as the estimates of 100-200 million to fix these spillways? Please. The Folsom spillway project has been going for ten years and cost 800 million. Oroville will cost at least a billion.

  16. Gordon Robertson says:

    I am not bothered as much with what is happening as with why it is happening. We have very large dams here in Canada, particularly in the Province of British Columbia, and we’ve never had an incident where the dams have been endangered or where spillways have not been able to handle the overflow. We also, have rainfall and snow melt that far exceeds anything in California.

    In the US, there is a dam near Dallas that is threatening to break that could seriously imperil the residents of Dallas. That’s on top of the Oroville Dam.

    There’s a huge difference in the way we approach funding for such structures in Canada. Our projects are fully under government control and there are measures in place to ensure proper construction techniques and that contractors don’t scrimp by using inferior products and less of them.

    Of course, we pay much more in taxes than our US counterparts and we are often ridiculed for it, especially when it comes to our national Medicare coverage. Then again, when you have a long term illness in Canada, you don’t end up losing your life’s savings.

    In the US aerospace industry, contractors are known for charging usurious prices for common parts. They change the name for the part to make it sound important whereas it could be a common water faucet.

    The spacecraft Challenger blew up due to an O-ring that physicist Richard Feynman demonstrated as becoming brittle when immersed in a cup of iced water. NASA was later held responsible due to having known of a potentially fatal design flaw in the O-ring.

    I have always found it amazing how immigrants originally from Britain and Europe could create countries next to each other and have such differences in the way their government’s operate. And why one country calls itself America when both countries are in the continent of America.

    There is no other America, just the continent.

    • Robert Stewart says:

      Gordon, your point is that private industry can’t be relied on to build safe and reliable structures and equipment, correct? And yet you use the Space Shuttle program as part of your evidence?

      The Oroville Dam has been run and maintained by public entities since its conception. Ditto the NASA Space Shuttle program. They may hire private companies to do the work, but civil servants oversee everything. They are the ones who decided to operate the dam after the diversion tunnels were rendered useless. They are the ones who deemed the repairs to the spillway adequate. They were the ones who launched both doomed Space Shuttles. Civil servants all. And the state has spent many times over the cost of repairing the dam on a choo-choo train that presently goes from nowhere to nowhere. Civil servants enabling prominent politicians to chase childhood dreams of 19th Century technology, the fate of a metastasizing over-reaching central government that places inordinate power in irresponsible political demagogues.

      Or are you arguing the Canadian Civil Servants are a cut above ours? That could well be true. Our public education system has been on a steady decline since teachers were forced to unionize in 1963. Our best are still great, but the run of the mill graduates require many years of experience to come up to speed.

      Oh, and you’re welcome for our help in WWII. Those terrible private corporations in the U. S. saved the world from Hitler through incredible innovations in mass production, which were used to arm the 16 million Americans who fought the war in two theatres. Not to take anything away from the Canadian warriors who fought beside us.

      • David Appell says:

        Robert Stewart says:
        “Oh, and youre welcome for our help in WWII….”

        That’s the kind of snotty comment that makes the US look its composed of idiots.

        Thanks a lot, Robert, even if you did pretend like you had something to do with WW2.

        • Robert Stewart says:

          Mr. Appell, your comments, strewn disproportionately throughout this thread, are far more convincing if someone were to question the idiocy of Americans. There are very few still left on this earth who can take credit for freeing a portion of the world from tyranny. I am not one of them, nor have I ever “pretend[ed]” to be one. However, to ignore the importance of the free enterprise system in the U. S. in facilitating the incredible war effort is beyond silly. The same guy who built Hoover Dam (and many others,) ended up launching Liberty Ships on an almost daily basis. And B-24s were rolled out of automobile-like production lines on an hourly basis.

          And your later point, “What difference would firing someone now accomplish?”, is disturbingly familiar. Where have I heard this sentiment before applied to public servant accountability…?

      • David Appell says:

        Robert wrote:
        “They are the ones who deemed the repairs to the spillway adequate. They were the ones who launched both doomed Space Shuttles. Civil servants all.”

        What is your evidence that private companies would have done any better?

        After, private companies brought us the Exxon oil spill in Alaska, the BP disaster in the Gulf, Love Canal, Donora PA 1948, and much more.

        • Robert Stewart says:

          Your ignorance of the details behind the Love Canal incident is profound. It’s all documented, and if you go to the trouble of looking into it, you will find that the culprit was the local school board.

          And I didn’t hypothesize that private companies would have done better. I was merely pointing out that public employees were responsible for the decisions that led to the disasters. So the presumption by Gordon that all would be well if we just let the bureaucrats run everything was in error. It is certainly true that if a private firm causes a problem, the media and the politicians will remind us of that forever, including the name of the benighted Captain who steered his vessel onto the reef. At the least,this serves to discipline private enterprise. Can you name the EPA manager who authorized the breech of the holding pond levy in the Animas River spill? I thought not. And, surprise! The EPA isn’t responsible because … sovereign immunity!

        • H.B. Schmidt says:

          David Appell wrote:
          “What is your evidence that private companies would have done any better?”

          The evidence is this: NASA relies on Russia to get us to the ISS and has largely outsourced to Elon Musk on the Space X project, rather than come up with a replacement for the now retired Space Shuttle program. If that isn’t hard enough evidence that private companies can and will do a better job then there never will be.

          • David Appell says:

            H.B. Schmidt says:
            “If that isnt hard enough evidence that private companies can and will do a better job then there never will be.”

            I agree.

            Why *shouldn’t* the US contract out to get people and materials to orbit?

            It’s not exactly challenging at this point

            But why did the US run the Apollo program as a *government*, not via private corps?

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        Robert Stewart…”Gordon, your point is that private industry cant be relied on to build safe and reliable structures and equipment, correct?”

        No. I have no problem with responsible private industry. Boeing, for example, builds excellent aeroplanes.

        “Or are you arguing the Canadian Civil Servants are a cut above ours?”

        No again. We have our share of civil servants who could use an upgrade. In fact, I have no bone to pick with the US in general. I just wonder why the two nations developed with the US citizenry so bent on the private approach, sometimes to the point of demanding to be left alone by government.

        Our government in Canada is nowhere near perfect and I find them very annoying at times with their interference. The present government is of that ilk. However, I find the concept of everyone pitching in to fund things like Medicare, highways, etc. to be far more beneficial than leaving it to private enterprise.

        “Oh, and youre welcome for our help in WWII”.

        It came a bit late because many US entrepreneurs were more concerned with their profits if the US declared war on Germany. Standard Oil was selling oil to the Nazis till FDR called Rockefeller onto the carpet and read him the riot act. Joe Kennedy, then the US ambassador to the UK, advised Brits not to fight Hitler.

        Many US citizens came up to Canada to enroll in the Allied forces. God bless them. When the US did get rolling after Pearl Harbour, there’s little doubt their contribution was major. It took them time to get up to speed but when they did it was lights out for the Nazis.

        FDR was an amazing man IMHO. He kept munitions and supplies going to the UK despite isolationism.

        I have read many accounts of the Pacific War with Japan and I have the highest regard for the US military and production. I still do.

        • Robert Stewart says:

          Did you know that the Oroville Dam was built by a public agency, and it is run by civil servants? Isn’t this the same situation for you in Canada? The problems we are faced with now are due entirely to political decisions made over the last three decades. So how is BC better?

          FDR made his leftie advisors very unhappy when he reached out to the many of the heads of American industry to organize our mobilization, with a few notable exceptions. That was one of the few things I give him credit for. He certainly didn’t expend any political capital arranging for the support of Britain following the fall of France. He did put Americans in harms way in the Atlantic convoys, perhaps hoping for an event that would help him support Britain more openly. And the economic sanctions against Japan almost guaranteed a war. Sanctions are a game our politicians like to play because they can pretend that the only possible outcome is that the other guy will fold up his tent and go home. But in Japan’s case, they were down to six months of fuel, and it was either attack or knuckle in to FDR.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            Robert Stewart…”So how is BC better?”

            Did not say it was better. I implied only that we have a different system of government with Crown Corporations that have stringent guidelines to follow, even though some of it is currently being watered down.

            BC’s infrastructure as it stands today was built largely by a right wing government that incorporated socialist means. For example, they nationalized BC Electric, a private company, and turned it into the Crown Corporation, BC Hydro. They also built large dams to supply the hydro power distributed by Hydro and major highways throughout the Province.

            Their successor, who calls themselves Liberals, are trying hard to privatize Hydro and they have succeeded in farming out the business division to an offshore company in Bermuda. They sold off the natural gas division of the public corporation BC Gas to private enterprise.

            Why? Both BC Hydro and BC Gas were providing affordable electricity and gas. Why sell them off? The only reason I can see is pure ideology and the feathering of the pockets of a few.

            Whereas California certainly has public utilities they are often run based on initiatives. People vote whether to fund this or that. I have seen what I considered to be good initiatives voted down because it would cost a few bucks more.

            We should not be politicizing public infrastructure.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            Robert Stewart…”He (FDR) certainly didnt expend any political capital arranging for the support of Britain following the fall of France”.

            He created Lend Lease which allowed Britain access to needed provisions which had to be paid for after the War. Had Britain not stood up to the Nazis in the Battle of Britain and the subsequent bombing campaign against Nazi industry in Germany, long before the US entered the war, the US could have been in serious trouble trying to fight a war against Germany and Japan.

            D-day in Europe is seen by many as the main thrust of the war. However, young lives were being expended over four year before D-day in night time bombing raids by British airmen whose average age was 19 to 24. They had a 75% casualty rate. They were later joined by US airmen who did daylight raids.

            FDR had to commit US naval forces to the convoys because Nazi U-boats were attacking shipping off the US coast.

            There’s no point having either country crowing about who won the war. The US needed Britain as much as Britain needed the US. Ultimately, both nations needed Stalinist Russia to seal the deal.

            In Burma, the US played a relatively secondary role, although, once again, their supplies were indispensable. The US and Britain were largely committed to Europe and the Pacific and it was the Army put together by the British General Slim that stopped the Japanese incursion into India and sent them packing.

            Of course, Stilwell did his part but he was never dealing with the full force of the Japanese Army as did Slim. Had the Japanese prevailed and taken India, it could have proved a serious problem for the US in the Pacific and the Allies in Europe.

        • David Appell says:

          “Isnt this the same situation for you in Canada? The problems we are faced with now are due entirely to political decisions made over the last three decades.”

          Stupid. You have put up no evidence whatsoever that private companies running dams are in any way superior to government organizations running them.

    • Mike M. says:

      Gordon Robertson wrote: “In the US, there is a dam near Dallas that is threatening to break that could seriously imperil the residents of Dallas.”

      That is a very small dam that, if it broke (not expected) would threaten a couple dozen homes and a highway. Similar to the Testalinda dam failure in Britic Columbia a few years ago.

  17. David Appell says:

    Let’s admit it, the dam managers are/were going to be criticized no matter what they did.

    If they hadn’t ordered a evacuation, and the spillway burst, it could have be a catastrophe of 9/11 proportions.

    You might say they panicked and ordered an evacuation only an hour after saying there was no need. Or you might say they realized their mistake and bravely changed their minds, and bravely reversed their earlier decision.

    Which of us, in charge, would not have gone for an evacuation order, knowing thousands of lives are at risk?

    Until you walk in their shoes….

    I’m sure the situation was stressful. Sure, journalists want answers, and they should be given if there is time and resources.

    But blaming someone or the other — the dam’s designers are dead (or close to it). The construction engineers (close to dead) did what they were asked to do.

    What difference would firing someone now accomplish?

    • Bart says:

      You’re an idiot.

    • papertiger says:

      One thing they could have made clearer is the lag time between a high water pulse/breach, and when flood conditions could be expected down stream in Marysville / Yuba City.

      But it’s a nit picky thing of little consequence.

      All things considered, the officials, the water guy from DWR and the sheriff of Butte County, did a competent job handling and then reassessing the situation on the ground as events unfolded.

      Even the timing of moving off of mandatory evac back to warning stage, this is in response to lack of new erosion on the main spillway. A 100,000 cfs constant gush of water for three days takes a hill down to bedrock pretty thoroughly.
      Who knew? Right?

  18. Kristey says:

    Why aren’t we hearing about the back erosion under the main spillway??

    • David Appell says:

      What evidence says there is any?

      • David Appell says:

        Why is it so difficult to get a response here? It’s like as soon as I challenge anyone’s claims, they fold like a house of tards and just give up with no response at all.

        Fine with me, but where is your backbone?

        • Robert Stewart says:

          David, you’re talking to yourself. Time for your nap.

          • David Appell says:

            yet another non-response, from someone who cannot reply intelligently.

            this is what I’m complaining about. When are any of you going to answer the tough questions I’m posing to you?

        • Mike M. says:

          David Appell wrote: “Why is it so difficult to get a response here?”

          Because you ignore the responses, then stubbornly repeat what you said earlier.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            Mike M…”David Appell wrote: Why is it so difficult to get a response here?

            Because you ignore the responses, then stubbornly repeat what you said earlier”.

            It’s a trolling technique DA picked up while attending lectures at realclimate and skepticalscience on how to deal with skeptics.

      • Arch Stanton says:

        Niagara Falls.

  19. Mitch says:

    Oh, heartwarming. Everyone gets to come home to their cozy little Oroville homes, look nervously up above them to a high hill, and see a crippled monster of a reservoir in the middle of an exceptionally rainy winter.

    I’d say real estate in the City of Oroville — always a bargain — is going to be cheaper than ever for the next few months.

  20. David Appell says:

    “What Californias Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate,” Noah Diffenbaugh, NY Times 2/14/17.

  21. CO2isLife says:

    Hey California!!!, Wind and Solar Dont Work in a Flood

  22. David Appell says:

    “The juxtaposition of five years of hot, dry conditions followed by more rain than reservoirs can store may seem incongruous. However, this is exactly what climate scientists have predicted for California since at least the 1980s: protracted periods of warm, dry conditions punctuated by intense wet spells, with more rain and less snow, causing both drought and floods.”

    – Noah Diffenbaugh, NY Times, 2/14/17

    • Norman says:

      David Appell

      What happened to the researcher in you? That article is very poor journalism. No real research on California history done at all.

      It is not hard to predict California will experience some periods of very dry climate followed by intense flooding. It has been following this process for thousands of years and is NOTHING NEW! Not even by a sniff.

      Here: “After a postglacial warming and drying trend in California, conditions grew cooler and, in many places,
      wetter around 3,800 2,000 years ago. These conditions had the effect of lowering salinity in the San
      Francisco Bay Estuary and altering environmental conditions for local ecosystems. This period was followed
      by gradual drying throughout the state, a general trend that has been punctuated by recurring periods of
      prolonged and/or severe drought over the region (megadroughts) and by catastrophic wet periods
      (megafloods). A number of paleoclimate records from across the state suggest that notably stable
      conditions have prevailed over the instrumental period, i.e., after ca. A.D. 1850, despite occasional severe,
      short-term anomalies experienced during this period.”

      Here why don’t you have a look and see. Someone who actually did a little study on the situation before drawing false conclusions that are not supportable by the evidence that is currently available.

      • David Appell says:

        Norman says:
        “It is not hard to predict California will experience some periods of very dry climate followed by intense flooding. It has been following this process for thousands of years and is NOTHING NEW!”

        Wrong Norman. As you know, or should know, AGW increases the chances of arid periods and of dry periods.

        Read the IPCC SREX please.

        • Norman says:

          David Appell

          You say “Wrong Norman” Did you look at the link and the evidence presented or are you just making a statement with no justification?

          That is not a good scientist. I presented an article for you to look at on California’s past climate which has lots of evidence suggesting extreme drought and flood or a long period of time. On a short blip of time (100 years) the climate was a little better but that is not the normal state of climate. People moved in during a lull.

          What evidence is the IPCC SREX based upon?

    • H.B. Schmidt says:

      In other words, normal climate for California, and by extension, absolutely no evidence of adverse climate change for the state.

      Right, got it. Game, set, match.

      Now move along.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      DA…”However, this is exactly what climate scientists have predicted for California since at least the 1980s…”

      You mean climate modelers. The climate scientists have a degree in the field, like John Christy or in meteorology, like Roy Spencer.

      The modelers have predicted warming in the Arctic where the Sun doesn’t shine 6 months of the year and the rest is mainly Sun at a low angle. There is nothing in climate models about the lack of Sun in the Arctic, only a ridiculously low concentration of CO2, which they think warms the Arctic.

      During the Arctic winter the only IR radiation available to warm GHGs is from ice and snow, yet the Arctic shows warming in ‘spots’ that is +5C over the 1981 – 2010 average. Those spots move around.

      Real climate scientists pay attention to data not models, which are left to mathematicians and other theorists.

      • David Appell says:

        Gordon Robertson says:
        “DAHowever, this is exactly what climate scientists have predicted for California since at least the 1980s”

        Wrong, Gordon, as always — this is not a quote from me, but by Noah Diffenbaugh, in today’s NY Times.

      • David Appell says:

        Gordon Richardson wrote:
        “There is nothing in climate models about the lack of Sun in the Arctic, only a ridiculously low concentration of CO2, which they think warms the Arctic.”

        Prove it, you a**hole.

        Prove something. Prove anything.

        I dare you.

        • Robert Stewart says:

          David, you’re stuttering. And such language! Have you considered Twitter?

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          DA…”Prove it, you a**hole. ”

          Ah, good. I finally got a reaction from DA as the reality sinks in. Imagine climate alarmists not knowing there is no Sun half the year in the Arctic and insignificant solar energy much of the year.

          BTW…that would be Mr. A**hole to you.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          DA…”Prove something. Prove anything”.

          What’s there to prove? Is it not obvious that an atmosphere with a CO2 concentration near to 0.04% much of the past few thousand year has not produced the kind of climate catastrophe to which you refer? Anthropogenic CO2 has not contributed to that value significantly so why should anything change?

          In an IPCC document, which I could cite for you, it claims in words that anthropogenic CO2, based on a concentration of 390 ppmv for all CO2, is only a small fraction of natural CO2 in the atmosphere. When you work it out based on the graphic supplied, the concentration of ACO2 is about 4% of natural CO2.

          At one time, the US Department of Energy supplied a table in which they cited the IPCC graphic. The amount of ACO2 coincides exactly with what I have cited above. Under the Obama admin, the DOE Internet page disappeared.

          It’s a serious joke to infer Arctic warming is due to ACO2 when there is little or no solar energy during the Arctic year. As I said, the only source of IR for ACO2 comes from ice and snow.

  23. Ross G says:

    Giving the original dam engineers the benefit of the doubt. The emergency spillway could been properly designed and founded to bedrock. If this was the case the base (bedrock)might have sloped down to the right toward the dam as it does. They would have then back filled with loose fill to provide a working surface for the necessary road behind the spillway – which would be lost if the spillway was ever used. If you look where the water cut lower down the hill it looks like it hit rock 6 or so feet down (hard to tell scale).

    Now imagine you are the dam operations engineer watching the fill/soil(?) getting eaten away with no clue about how the spillway was ‘really’ built 45 years ago. What do you tell the sheriff??? At any sign of lack of confidence the sheriff, properly, has to take the no risk solution and call for an evacuation.

    If you they don’t know, understand or trust what they have they should do some soil borings to see if the spillway is on bedrock or not.

    I assume that the spillway extends through the parking lot to the left. The stuff downstream of this portion of the spillway would also be washed away if it was used. I suppose for a design (worst case) flow over the spillway, the water level would be 15 or 20 feet above the top of the spillway. That would be really scary.

    It really is an EMERGENCY spillway.

  24. H.B. Schmidt says:

    I’ll never understand why, in this day and age, it takes an act of God and an equally sized budget to get a timely response to a crisis. Surely there has to be a way to expedite repairs to the spillway so as to not break the budget nor unduly extend the risk to downstream communities, right?

    • David Appell says:

      Why should that be true? It take money to operate and fix things. Too bad if that requires your taxes.

      • Mike Flynn says:


        “According to the GAO, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period.”

        Achieving precisely nothing of use to man nor beast!

        Maybe a few billion could have been used for useful stuff, do you think? Dam or bridge maintenance, possibly?


        • David Appell says:

          Mike Flynn says:
          “According to the GAO, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period.

          “Achieving precisely nothing of use to man nor beast!”

          Prove it.

          I’m sure you can’t and I’m sure you won’t

        • Mike Flynn says:


          Prove what, pray tell?

          That the GAO exists?

          That there has been no measurable benefit to humanity from the billions wasted on the nonsensical notion that CO2 can cause temperatures to rise?

          I can’t even prove that your IQ is greater than your shoe size, either. Neither can you.

          If you maintain that you’d rather pay self styled climatologists to write fairy tales, rather than to maintain infrastructure such as dams and bridges, that’s your choice.Normal people might prefer otherwise.

          Keep up the demands. Don’t be too surprised if people don’t obey your commands – you don’t seem to be terribly scary! All mouth and no trousers?


          • David Appell says:

            Mike Flynn says:
            “That there has been no measurable benefit to humanity from the billions wasted on the nonsensical notion that CO2 can cause temperatures to rise?”

            Prove it.

          • Mike Flynn says:


            Just in case you really are as dim as you appear to be, there are precisely no peer reviewed papers quantifying any benefit to humanity from the billions wasted on the nonsensical notion that CO2 can cause temperatures to rise.

            Don’t believe me? Too bad. My care factor is precisely zero.

            Good luck with the demands. Maybe someone will pay attention.


          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            sometimes you behave really ridiculously.

            Following your methodology I should get fundings for a mega-weapon to fight the aliens in case they will invade the Earth.
            That just because I proved that exist many sci-fi movies and videogames that show that event, and on the other side no one could prove that aliens will never invade the Earth one day (even if they probably exist somewhere in the universe).

            You need to prove that CO2 is really dangerous in a single context and I will follow you.
            And in that case I’m sure that most of sceptics here are ready to do the same. We are sceptics, not idiots.

            Prove, not model it of course.

            Have a great day.


  25. Darwin Wyatt says:

    If the bottom of the main spillway is damaged and severely undercut, then the angle of repose on the slope above is unstable. Especially if the damage continues. They need to drain the dam and make repairs to the bottom of the main spillway before refilling.

  26. ren says:

    The question is: why flooded the reservoirs before the spring thaw?
    Now they do not work.

  27. Anonymous says:

    What’s up,I check your new stuff named “The Oroville Dam Crisis: What Happened, Whats Next? Roy Spencer, PhD” on a regular basis.Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about

Leave a Reply