SACRAMENTO, Calif. - UPDATE: 4/6/2018 3:58 p.m. Water flows into Lake Oroville are picking up as rain hammers Northern California and state officials warn they may have to use a partially rebuilt spillway at the troubled dam.
Feather River flows into the lake began exceeding water being released around noon on Friday. The lake level rose slightly but was still around 793 feet (264 meters)
California Department of Water Resources officials say they'll use the main spillway if the water level reaches 830 feet (276 meters) but they hope to avoid it.
The spillway was destroyed last year during a crisis that forced the evacuation of downstream towns amid fears of catastrophic flooding. About a third of it has been fully rebuilt with reinforced structural concrete but the rest has temporary repairs.
State officials say it's safe to use if needed.
California water officials say they may have to use the partially rebuilt spillway at Oroville Dam for the first time since they began repairs to the badly damaged structure last summer.
Department of Water Resources officials said Tuesday that anticipated storms could send trigger releases this week or next. They stepped up releases through other outlets in hopes of avoiding the need to use the spillway.
Damage on the main spillway was the catalyst for a near catastrophe in February 2017 when authorities ordered nearly 200,000 people to evacuate amid fears of massive flooding.
Construction work to fix the damage has paused for the winter though crews have been working to fortify the adjacent emergency spillway.
State officials say inspectors will closely monitor the chute if water is released.