It's been two weeks since a potentially catastrophic scenario appeared to be unfolding at Lake Oroville, north of Sacramento, which forced the evacuations of some 200,000 people ahead of what could have been a majorly destructive flood. On Monday, with releases of water from the reservoir's spillway temporarily shut off, the state's Department of Water Resources released new drone footage documenting the extent of the erosion damage to the spillway and the adjacent hillside that's occurred since that first "pothole" was spotted in the 50-year-old water chute in early February.
As you can see, the growing gash in the concrete spillway essentially eroded the entire thing, and massive flows of water that have been pouring out of the reservoir over the last two weeks have eroded much of the surrounding hill. KCRA has more aerial photos here.
For comparison, here's what the damage looked like 18 days earlier:
As Fortune notes, Oroville Dam is just one of many in the nation that are nearing the end of their expected lifespan of 50 years, with the American Society of Civil Engineers reporting that 4,000 dams across the country are "deficient" and potentially prone to failure.
And as the Daily Mail reported two weeks ago, potential for flooding is far from over with this now severely damaged spillway and the adjacent emergency spillway, since runoff from the Sierra and more rain are expected for another three months at least. Repairs to the two spillways, they quote experts as saying, could top $200 million.
Meanwhile, jumping the gun a bit given that something far more serious could still be in the cards with this dam, a local law firm is already advertising for "Oroville dam victims," promising the possibility of monetary damages stemming from the two-day evacuation.