FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The auxiliary spillway from the Oroville Dam was discovered to have severe erosion Sunday afternoon and caused a panic for thousands living in the area.
Evacuation orders were issued about 4 p.m. after engineers noticed soil erosion at the top of the spillway. To prevent further damage and a spillway failure -- 100,000 cubic feet of water per second is being released from the main spillway.
The water level is now below the lip of the dam, but crews plan to continue releasing water until the lake drops 50 feet, hopefully before the next storm.
Repairs are currently underway but evacuations remain in place. Schools have also been canceled for Monday out of an abundance of caution. Oroville resident Maggie Cabral says she had minutes to get her belongings and leave.
"Everyone was running around, it was pure chaos," she said. "All of the streets were immediately packed with cars, people in my neighborhood grabbing what they could and running out the door and leaving. I mean, even here in Chico, there's just traffic everywhere."
By the time Cabral got to Chico, she says the evacuation shelters and hotels were full.
Evacuee describes chaos as thousands ordered to flee away from Oroville Dam