oroville, calif. — the latest on problems with an emergency spillway at the nation's tallest dam (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

gov. jerry brown has not announced immediate plans to visit oroville or meet with residents who have been evacuated.

brown spokeswoman deborah hoffman says the governor's primary focus any time there is an emergency is always on the response itself, not photo ops that can pull resources away — or distract — from the task at hand. she said an emergency order was issued sunday.

meanwhile, california lt. gov. gavin newsom and emergency operation officials met with residents at an evacuation center in woodland, california, about 80 miles south of the oroville dam.

evacuations for at least 188,000 people living below the dam were ordered sunday after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled floodwaters on towns below.

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1:45 p.m.

documents show environmentalists raised concerns years ago about the stability of the emergency spillway at the tallest u.s. dam but state officials dismissed them, insisting the structure was safe.

in a 2005 motion filed with the federal energy regulatory commission, three advocacy groups said using lake oroville's earthen spillway would cause significant erosion because it wasn't armored with concrete.

they said soil, rocks and debris could be swept into the feather river, potentially damaging bridges and power plants. the groups warned of a failure of the dam itself, threatening lives and property.

nearly three years later, state officials said no "significant concerns" about the spillway's integrity had been raised in any government or independent review.

bill croyle, acting head of california's department of water resources, said monday that he wasn't familiar with the 2005 warnings.

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12:45 p.m.

the sheriff of a california county where thousands of people were evacuated as a damaged spillway on a huge dam threatened to fail says repairs may need to be made before residents are allowed to go home.

but butte county sheriff kory honea didn't say how long the fixes could take and offered no timetable for lifting the evacuation order.

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12:40 p.m.

the acting head of california's water agency says he's "not sure anything went wrong" on a damaged spillway at the nation's tallest dam.

the comments from acting director bill croyle come after officials told residents for days that the damage was nothing to be concerned about but then told nearly 200,000 people late sunday to get out in an hour.

the sheriff in a county where thousands of people have been evacuated also says he sees the move as a double success.

butte county sheriff kory honea said public safety officials worked to evacuate people and the department of water resources dealt with the situation at hand.

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12:30 p.m.

water officials say storms expected later this week near communities evacuated over the threat of a spillway collapse at the nation's tallest dam will be smaller than last week.

bill croyle, acting director of california department of water resources, said more water is leaving lake oroville reservoir than coming in. but rain is forecast for thursday.

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12:30 p.m.

the sheriff in a county where thousands of people have been evacuated over the threat of a spillway collapse at the nation's tallest dam says he realizes it's been a hardship on the community.

butte county sheriff kory honea says it was difficult to decide to ask people to leave their homes, and that their primary purpose is to ensure safety. they're trying to figure out when people can go home.

honea also said more than 500 butte county jail inmates safely transferred to alameda county jail farther south.

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12:25 p.m.

butte county sheriff kory honea says the evacuation below the nation's tallest dam because of the threat of flooding from a damaged spillway will not end right away. officials said monday that they are working on a plan to allow residents to return home when it's safe.

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12:15 p.m.

residents and local officials have described a panicked and chaotic scene on roads and freeways during an evacuation over the threat of a spillway collapse at the nation's tallest dam.

jodye manley of olivehurst says she and her husband were having dinner sunday at her daughter's house in sacramento when she got word from a city councilman friend that her area would probably be evacuated.

she says the couple got gas and made a mad dash to get their four dogs and three cats. manley says she and her neighbors were completely panicked and that the scene "was almost like a movie."

she says the traffic-filled return to sacramento was terrifying, with people thinking the spillway would go at any moment.

chico councilman andrew coolidge says the seven shelters he visited are packed with residents who describe similar terror on jam-packed roads to safety.

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11:45 a.m.

the chief executive of the oroville hospital says it is operating normally but that 100 patients have been moved to the hospital's second floor.

hospital ceo robert wentz says the hospital took the step monday morning "out of an abundance of caution."

the hospital is outside the flood zone below the dam on oroville lake and sits on a hill.

wentz says evacuating acutely ill people is difficult so it is usually better for them to stay where they are.

he says patients will not go back to the hospital's first floor until authorities tell the hospital it is safe to do so.

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7:20 a.m.

kimberly and patrick cumings just moved to oroville from fresno with 3-year-old daughter elizabeth a month ago because of a new job.

they were eating at a restaurant when the evacuation order happened and ended up in an evacuation shelter without their belongings.

a driver with a large vehicle and three children of her own gave them a ride to the red cross evacuation center at the silver dollar fairgrounds in chico, where they stayed sunday night.

they say they thought about waiting it out but decided against it.

they left all of their belongings at the hotel where they were staying. kimberly cumings says she'd rather be safe than sorry.

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6:10 a.m.

state officials are waiting for the light of dawn to inspect an erosion scar on the potentially hazardous emergency spillway at northern california's oroville dam.

california department of water resources action director bill croyle says officials in helicopters overflew the spillway sunday night to visually inspect it.

evacuations for at least 188,000 people living below the dam were ordered sunday after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below.

water levels at the huge dam are continuing to drop and stopping water from spilling over the emergency spillway.

california department of water resources officials say flows into the lake are just under 45,000 cubic feet per second. outflows remain high at nearly 100,000 cubic feet per second.

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5:35 a.m.

water levels at northern california's lake oroville are continuing to drop and stopping water from spilling over a big dam's potentially hazardous emergency spillway.

evacuations for at least 188,000 people living below the dam were ordered sunday after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below.

california department of water resources officials say flows into the lake are just under 45,000 cubic feet per second. outflows remain high at nearly 100,000 cubic feet per second.

officials ordered the evacuation because possible failure of the emergency spillway could send a 30-foot wall of water into communities.

state fire and rescue chief kim zagaris says at least 250 california law enforcement officers are in the area of the dam and evacuation routes to manage the exodus of residents and ensure evacuated towns don't face looting or other criminal activity.