The tallest dam in the United States, which few people outside of California heard of before this weekend, is on the Feather River, a tributary of the Sacramento River beginning in the Sierra Nevada Mountains north and east of the state capital. The lake created behind the dam, Lake Oroville, is the second-largest manmade lake in California (behind Shasta Lake in northern California). After years of drought, recent storms and meltwater from the Sierra Nevada require the first-ever opening of the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway. Engineers are unsure of the spillway's condition, forcing the evacuation of 200,000 people.
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