Oroville: Thousands ordered to evacuate as authorities warn of catastrophic dam failure

Tens of thousands of people fled to safety Sunday after authorities declared the Oroville Dam was in danger of imminent collapse and ordered an evacuation of residents in Oroville and surrounding communities in the shadow of the nation’s tallest dam.

The California Department of Water Resources first called for an evacuation around 4:40 p.m. Sunday, just four hours after holding a news conference during which they said they didn’t anticipate such problems.

The initial prediction held that it would fail within the hour. By 7:30 p.m. fears of an imminent collapse had subsided, as officials hurried to lower the level of the reservoir.

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