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Prado Dam area evacuated

Friday, January 14, 2005

More than 800 homes have been evacuated in the area located below the Prado Dam in the city of Corona, approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Evacuations began at 5 a.m., with police ordering residents to leave for their own safety. The evacuations also impacted the rush hour commute due a significant amount of people leaving via the already clogged Riverside (91) Freeway.

The record rainfall from the recent storms that pounded southern California has left the earthen dam at its maximum capacity. A small seepage that appeared at the base of the dam raised fears of a possible failure.

Officials vary on their assessments of the problem. A spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however, who constructed and maintain the dam, insisted that the problem is trivial and people should be able to return to their homes as early as this evening.

The Prado Dam was constructed in 1941 as a flood control dam for Orange County. It controls the watershed of the Santa Ana River, the largest in Southern California.

References

Lance Pugmire and Daryl Strickland. "Homes Evacuated Below Prado Dam" — Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2005