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More than 180,000 people living around Oroville, California were ordered by authorities to evacuate on Sunday after a hole in the auxiliary spillway in the Oroville Dam threatened to flood the surrounding area.
NorCal: LAKE OROVILLE DAM SPILLWAY

Authorities: 'Still an emergency situation' in Oroville


Thursday, February 16, 2017, 12:52 -

Although citizens have returned to homes after an eruption in California's Oroville Dam, on Wednesday authorities warned that it is "still an emergency situation," as efforts continue to repair the damage.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said, "It's important to remember that this is still an emergency situation." 

Officials had ordered 188,000 people living down river from the Oroville Dam to evacuate on Sunday and reduced that to an evacuation warning on Tuesday. 

Both the primary and backup drainage channels of the dam, known as spillways, were damaged by a buildup of water that resulted from an extraordinarily wet winter in Northern California that followed years of severe drought.

Oroville residents look at the Feather River after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the Lake Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

SAFETY: Six important flood safety tips


The greater danger was posed by the emergency spillway, which was subject to urgent repairs in recent days. Though damaged, the primary spillway was still useable, officials said

Below: Spillway Aerial footage from Oroville Dam 2-10-17

RELATED: Flooding, mudslides and dam break wreaks havoc in California, Nevada. See photos and video here.

Honey also warned citizens against using drones. "I understand the interest," he said. But he added, "You slow down the progress -- that's a threat to public safety. " 

More rain was forecast for as early as Wednesday and through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, but the state Department of Water Resources said the upcoming storms were unlikely to threaten the emergency spillway.

President Donald Trump declared an emergency in the state, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

WATCH BELOW: Meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal discusses timing and potential impacts of the next storms

Photos: Dam breaks, mudslides batter California, Nevada
February outlook looks wet and warm. National update here
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