That’s how much warning government officials had that the main spillway for the Oroville Dam in California could become unstable and that people in communities near the dam would be in danger.
But as we’ve come to expect from our government, state and federal regulators ignored the warnings and failed to reinforce the nearby hillside with concrete.
So, as you have undoubtedly seen on the news over the past week, close to 200,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes because they are in the path of a 30-foot wall of water that could come rushing at them at any moment if that spillway erodes any farther.
Considering the spillway has a hole in it the size of a football field and 40 feet deep, it’s a very distinct possibility!
And it’s not like this is some small, little-known dam in an unpopulated area. At 770 feet high, it’s the tallest dam in the country! It holds back billions of gallons of water with the potential to destroy thousands of homes.
How are these homeowners dealing with it? Well, like most Americans, they’re unprepared for a crisis. And not surprisingly, they’re panicking.
“I have the clothes on my back. No insurance policies, no cash, no nothing,” said Warren Neufeld of Oroville.
He ended up at a nearby Red Cross shelter. Some others decided to take a chance in their homes.
“I decided I’d rather be in the house and we can climb on the roof rather than be in the car if something happens,” said Patrick Miner.
Really?!?! Are those the best options? Running to a shelter or climbing on your roof?
And how have government officials responded to this crisis at the Oroville Dam?
“We’ve never seen anything like this in modern times,” a California water official said. “This is a worst-case scenario for any water management agency.”
Of course it is. Ignore a problem for 12 years and eventually you’re going to have a very dangerous situation on your hands.
And that’s really what this is all about. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we can’t count on the government to keep us safe.
Of course, the politicians are jumping in to point fingers. U.S. Representative John Garamendi said that if the state had listened to the warnings years ago, “This problem would not have occurred.”
And it’s certainly easy for us to sit back and say, “Those homeowners should have been ready for something like this. Especially with 12 years’ advance notice.”
But are we ready for whatever disaster comes our way? Are you prepared to pick up and leave your home at a moment’s notice?
What would you grab if you had to get out of dodge?
Personally, if I was faced with an immediate evacuation, I’d grab my Patriot Power Generator. At least if I ended up camping, I’d be able to power all of my electronic devices.
Or if you think you’d stay home and brave it out, what would you do if you lost power for days on end?
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