California

After two days of round-the-clock work to control water flowing over the Oroville Dam in Northern California, people who live downstream of the structure are allowed to return to their homes, officials announced Tuesday.

Nearly 200,000 people were affected by evacuations after water scoured enormous holes in two of the dam's concrete spillways beginning Sunday, raising concerns that the tallest dam in the country could fail.

The area around a huge dam at California's second-largest reservoir is in a state of emergency, with some 180,000 residents ordered to evacuate the area Sunday out of fears that part of Oroville Dam could fail. A glimmer of hope arrived late Sunday night, when officials said water had finally stopped pouring over the dam's emergency spillway.

The secondary spillway was in use because the main spillway had developed a huge hole, stressed by the need to release water accumulated from California's wet winter — and brought to a new crisis point by last week's heavy rains.

Hundreds of protesters descended on a town hall meeting hosted by California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock on Saturday, peppering him with questions and putting him on notice that they didn't want him falling in line with the Trump administration.

It's been a tense week for immigrants and people of color throughout the country, but there was some good news in California: a new study by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza points out that the state's Latinos, as a group, are doing much better in many areas.

Heavy precipitation is erasing years of extremely dry conditions in parts of California, with the latest federal report showing that just over 51 percent of the state remains in drought — and no areas have the worst rating, "exceptional drought."

California Gov. Jerry Brown is vowing to lead the nation on climate change, as the Trump administration pulls back. But the Trump administration could get in California's way.

In his annual State of the State speech, California Gov. Jerry Brown had one key message about climate change: perseverance.

"We cannot fall back and give in to the climate deniers," Brown said. "The science is clear. The danger is real."

Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy.

He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate. Water rushed down a canal and flooded hundreds of acres of vineyards — even though it was wintertime. The vineyards were quiet. Nothing was growing.

"We started in February, and we flooded grapes continuously, for the most part, until May," Cameron says.

A storm system that dumped precipitation on multiple states in the West appears to be easing, but rivers have yet to crest and many communities are still digging out from record snowfall.

Over the weekend and into Monday morning, a powerful storm in Nevada and Northern California resulted in mudslides and flooding, caused more than a thousand people to evacuate their homes, took out power lines and brought down a famous sequoia "tunnel tree."

That storm is over, but residents can't relax yet: Starting on Tuesday, a second potent winter storm is expected to hit the region.

A powerful winter storm in California has brought down an ancient tree, carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago.

The "Pioneer Cabin Tree," a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, saw horses and cars pass through it over the years. More recently, only hikers were allowed to walk through the massive tree.

Over the weekend, a powerful winter storm slammed into California and Nevada, prompting flooding and mudslides in some regions. The Associated Press reports it might be the biggest storm to hit the region in more than a decade.

Pages