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Lake Oroville Dam: 'Hazardous situation' sparks evacuation

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People are being evacuated from near America's tallest dam, with officials saying a "hazardous situation is developing" and that the structure could fail, reported Sky News.

Water has started flowing over an emergency spillway at the 230m-high (770ft) Lake Oroville Dam in northern California.

The spillway - used to alleviate pressure on the dam - is severely corroded and could fail imminently and unleash flood waters, according to Butte County Sheriff's Office.

"Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered," said the sheriff on Facebook.

"This is NOT A Drill. This is NOT A Drill. This is NOT A Drill."

"There are efforts being made to hopefully avert the crisis," Sheriff Kory L. Honea told reporters.

"I would rather be safe than sorry," he added.

Residents of Oroville, which has a population of 16,000, are being ordered to head north north towards Chico.

Heavy rain has caused water to flow over the spillway for the first time in its nearly 50-year history.

On Friday, officials said a 9m (30ft) hole had appeared in a section of the dam and that water levels were less than two metres from the top - but added that there was no immediate threat.

The Lake Oroville Dam, completed in 1968, is the tallest in the US and 12m (40ft) higher than the famous Hoover Dam.

Read more at skynews.com.

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