Deep in the Trinity Alps, 130 miles northwest of the troubled Oroville Dam, local officials are raising alarms about another earthen dam with documented weaknesses and limited capacity for releasing the water that has poured in from storms and melting snow.
Trinity Lake, the state’s third-largest reservoir, is filled to 97 percent of its storage capacity, and a snowpack estimated at 150 percent of normal still looms over the watershed.
If the reservoir were to overtop the dam, the results would be catastrophic, said Keith Groves, a Trinity County supervisor representing the district that includes Trinity Dam.
“It would take out bridges … and a big section of (Trinity County) would be wiped off the face of the planet,” Groves said. He said 3,500 people live in the immediate pathway of potential flooding.
Concerns about the dam’s safety date to 1974, when an unseasonably warm storm, known as a “pineapple express,” dropped heavy rain and snow in the Trinity Alps. The water level in the lake rose so high it nearly overwhelmed the dam.
Despite documented hazards, neither Trinity County nor the state or federal government has developed evacuation notifications or procedures.
Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee