California flooding

I have been reading about all the rain falling over most of California, but now I’m seeing the effects first hand.  We re-visited our favorite winery in Sonoma this past weekend and found Lake Sonoma overflowing into various tributaries.

Lake Sonoma spillway

Water rushing down the Lake Sonoma spillway is at high volume.

Lake Sonoma county park

At Lake Sonoma county park, what were once clear running quiet streams have turned into muddy backwaters.

Common Merganser and American Widgeon

Common Merganser and American Widgeon ducks seem to love all this water though.

However, the flooding here is minuscule compared to the amount of water pouring over the Oroville dam in the foothills of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Oroville dam concrete spillway

A huge chunk of concrete eroded out of the center of the Oroville dam concrete spillway, where excess water was being released from the lake. Photo from 2 days ago.

Emergency spillway Oroville dam

Unable to release enough water over the concrete spillway at the Oroville dam, water was released over the emergency spillway and down into the Feather River, which has become a high volume of muddy water. Still capture from KCRA live streaming news coverage.

Thousands of (almost 200,000) homes downstream have been evacuated, but more hard rain is expected next weekend for this rain-soaked and flooded area.  From extreme drought to extreme flood, weather fit for neither man nor beast.

UPDATE: water leaving the dam via the emergency spillway was producing too much erosion with the potential for collapse of that wall of the dam.  Instead, engineers increased the flow out the concrete spillway today.  Great video of the process on Vox:

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