It’s not just Oroville: Record rain is straining California’s whole flood control network

The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure’s two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges. Large swaths of the region are on track to experience their wettest winter on record, with many areas having already surpassed their average precipitation for an entire year. And all that water is putting new strains on the network of dams, rivers, levees and other waterways that are essential to preventing massive flooding during wet years like this one.

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