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Technology 'Extreme' flooding at Mojave Dam could put hundreds of thousands at risk: Officials

20:15  03 november  2019
20:15  03 november  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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Officials said Friday the dam could fail during an extreme storm, causing flooding in Mojave Desert communities. A potential dam failure could generate flooding that could even impact the town of Baker, located more than 140 miles downriver.

The flood risk status has been raised for the Mojave River Dam . California's Mojave River Dam is at high risk for failure if it were to face extreme flooding , the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday.

An "extreme" flooding event at the Mojave River Dam could put hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents nearby at risk, according to officials.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background: The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.© U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that it has changed the risk characterization of the dam, located in San Bernardino County, from low to high urgency of action after assessing that water during an extreme flood event could exceed the design capacity of the dam and overtop it.

(MORE: Hundreds evacuated in Virginia after dam overflows)

The dam failure that could possibly result would flood the communities adjacent to the Mojave River, such as Hesperia, Apple Valley, Victorville and Barstow, according to the news release.

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A California dam could fail during an extreme storm and send water flooding into Mojave Desert communities that are home to about 300,000 people, authorities said Friday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has changed its risk characterization of the Mojave River Dam from low

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California dam could fail during an extreme storm and send water flooding into Mojave Desert communities that are home to about 300,000 people, authorities said Friday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has changed its risk characterization of the Mojave

a view of a mountain: The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.© U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.

The dam, located on the northern side of the San Bernardino Mountains downstream of the confluence of the West Fork Mojave River and Deep Creek, was built in 1971 and designed and constructed with the "standards of the day," according to the Army. It reduces risk for more than 16,000 people and $1.5 billion in property and "continues to operate as designed."

It has never experienced a spillway flow or flood event that could load it "significantly," and a weather event powerful enough to do so is "unlikely."

(MORE: Water levels fall at threatened California dam as 200K evacuated)

However, officials want to be prepared in the event that it does, according to the Army.

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California's Mojave River Dam Could Fail in Extreme Flooding , Corps of Engineers Says. SCE and other utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric, the state's largest electricity provider, shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers ahead of the wildfire threat.

A California dam could fail during an extreme storm and send water flooding into Mojave Desert communities that are home to about 300,000 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has changed its risk characterization of the Mojave River Dam from low to high urgency of action.

"This is a storm that is unlikely to occur, but it is nonetheless a real possibility and one we must be prepared for," Col. Aaron Barta, commander of the Corps’ Los Angeles District, said in a statement.

a bridge over a body of water with a mountain in the background: The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.© U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District The Mojave River Dam is pictured in this undated photo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District owns and operates 17 dams across California, Arizona and Nevada, which collectively reduce flooding for about 7 million people and $200 billion in property, according to the release. The agency is currently evaluating interim risk-reduction measures associated with potential overtopping at the Mojave River Dam.

(MORE: California man with dementia survives nearly 3 days in Mojave Desert)

The agency recommends that residents prepare an emergency kit, register their mobile phones with San Bernardino County's telephone emergency notification system for alerts and create an evacuation plan in case of a flood event.

In 2017, nearly 200,000 people in Southern California were evacuated after the spillways at the Oroville Dam in Butte County were damaged.

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