Field Trip: high water on Feather River

On Sunday afternoon, Justin asked me if I wanted to drive along the levee to look at the water. This turned out to be about two hours before the evacuation of 188,000 people from upriver as the Oroville Dam emergency spillway continued to erode.dsc04892dsc04890On the other side of the levee, water was seeping under the levee into the farmland or …dsc04891This pump is ordinarily used to pump water out of the river to irrigate farmland, but this is not the growing season so the pumps are turned off. However, the river is so high, it’s creating back pressure on the pumps causing water from the river to flow backwards through the pumps (thank you Justin for this explanation).dsc04894We counted at least 12 markers like this one along the levee. They note trouble spots that inspectors need to repeatedly check – and there are a lot of inspectors keeping watch.dsc04909dsc04910dsc04912Boils are spots where the water has soaked through the levee and comes bubbling up on the other side. When discovered, the boil is ringed with sand bags in an effort to stabilize it.dsc04899dsc04897The confluence of the Feather and Sacramento Rivers is at Verona, but there is serious leakage going on with the water now halfway across the road.dsc04901Days ago, farmers started moving their equipment to higher ground.dsc04904An overpass (with no on/off ramps) near Justin’s house:8366There are some beautiful homes on the river side of the levee – a risky location in times like this.dsc04902There were big U-Haul trucks at the ready everywhere.dsc04916A neighbor of Justin’s asked for help to move some equipment. The first stop was the local gas station; Justin wanted me to fill up also. We got there just before it became clogged with customers.dsc04920The exodus was agonizingly slow along Hwy 70 as the evacuation continued. What should have been a 45 minute drive from Marysville to Sacramento took 5 hours on Sunday night.img_0519The mandated evacuation did not apply to E Nicolaus. Wheatland, 12 miles north, was recommended evacuation. So we sat tight and hoped for the best.

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