Commuters in U.S. South face tough trek after deadly storm

Snow cover in the U.S. 1-18-18 - National Weather Service

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Commuters in the U.S. South faced frigid temperatures and dangerously slick roads on Thursday after a winter storm, responsible for at least eight deaths, thrashed the region with heavy snow and winds that snapped power lines.

Schools in New Orleans, Charlotte and Atlanta and across the region canceled classes on Thursday as winter weather advisories from the National Weather Service (NWS) remained in effect from eastern Texas to Florida and north into southeast Virginia.

“Motorists are urged to use extreme caution, or avoid travel if possible,” the NWS said in an advisory, warning that freezing temperatures would keep roads icy.

Wind chill advisories were in effect as temperatures will feel like they have fallen below zero Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) in parts of the Carolinas, Alabama and Virginia.

More than 14,000 households and businesses in North Carolina and Louisiana and in various parts of the South were without power early on Thursday, utility companies said online.

The governors of Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana declared states of emergency because of severe conditions that made traveling treacherous.

“We cannot stress it enough for everyone to stay off the roads unless you have no choice,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement, adding the storm had caused 1,600 traffic accidents.

More than 9 inches (23 cm) of snow have fallen in Durham, North Carolina since Monday, with 7 inches (18 cm) or more measured at various locations across southern Virginia, the NWS said.

The storm has caused at least eight deaths.

In Austin, Texas, a vehicle plunged more than 30 feet (9 meters) off a frozen overpass on Tuesday, killing a man in his 40s, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service said on its Twitter feed.

An 82-year-old woman who suffered from dementia was found dead on Wednesday behind her Houston-area home, likely due to exposure to cold, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. Another woman died from cold exposure in Memphis, police said on Twitter.

In Georgia, two people were fatally struck by a car that slid on an ice patch near Macon, local media reports said.

A man was killed when he was knocked off an elevated portion of Interstate 10 in New Orleans and an 8-month-old baby died in a car crash in suburban New Orleans, local news reports said.

A woman died in West Virginia in a car crash, local reports said.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Edmund Blair and Bernadette Baum)

Flights canceled, schools closed across snowy U.S. South

Snow falls through a picture frame in the Boston Public Garden during a winter storm in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 17, 2018.

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) – A bitter winter storm gripped much of the South on Wednesday, prompting schools to close and causing thousands of flight delays and cancellations as snow, ice and record-breaking cold hit the region.

The storm led to a least one death when a vehicle in Austin, Texas, plunged more than 30 feet off a frozen overpass late on Tuesday, killing a man in his 40s, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service said on its Twitter feed.

Winter weather advisories were in effect from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic states and Southeast, as well as over the central Gulf Coast of Texas, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Winter storm warnings were also in effect for portions of the Carolinas, southern Virginia and the New England area.

More than 360 outgoing flights at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were canceled or delayed on Wednesday, according to Flightaware.com, and another 60-plus were canceled or delayed at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The governors of Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana declared states of emergency due to severe winter weather conditions, which caused multiple car accidents during rush-hour traffic, officials said.

NWS meteorologist Dan Petersen said snowfall in central and north Georgia had ended, and the arctic cold front would now bring snow, frigid temperatures and frozen roadways across central North Carolina on Wednesday.

“The rain in central North Carolina will eventually turn into snow later today and is predicted to dump 6 to 8 inches of snow over central North Carolina and about 1 to 3 inches over east North Carolina,” he said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned at a news briefing that cold temperatures Wednesday night would make travel conditions even more hazardous.

“The snow is pretty, but don’t be fooled,” Cooper said.

In Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, most freeways were closed on Wednesday morning after icing over, the city’s Office of Emergency Management said.

“Not a good idea to be out on the roads. Conditions are still unsafe,” the Texas Department of Transportation Houston Division said on its Twitter feed.

New Orleans had record-breaking cold temperatures Wednesday morning with 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the area, beating its previous record 23 degrees set in 1977, according to the NWS. Hattiesburg, Mississippi, also broke temperature records with 12 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday, beating its 14 degrees also set in 1977.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and David Gregorio)

Strong earthquake in southern Peru leaves one dead, scores injured

A man observes a damage building after a strong magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the coast of southern Peru, in Acari, Arequipa , Peru, January 14, 2018.

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – A strong magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck the coast of southern Peru on Sunday morning, killing one person, injuring scores and causing homes and roads to collapse.

The quake hit offshore at 4:18 a.m. local time (0918 GMT) at a depth of around 36 km (22.4 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean 40 km from the town of Acari.

Arequipa Governor Yamila Osorio said on Twitter that a 55-year-old man died in the town of Yauca after being crushed by rocks. Jorge Chavez, chief of Peru’s Civil Defense Institute, told local radio station RPP that 65 people were injured.

Several municipalities lost electricity, and many roads and adobe houses collapsed, Osorio said. Many residents of Lomas, a coastal town, were evacuated after feeling an aftershock.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski traveled to the towns of Chala and Acari, two of the areas most affected by the quake, to assess the damages and coordinate the response. He said some 100 houses had collapsed.

A man and a child stand at debris of a building after a strong magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the coast of southern Peru, in Acari, Arequipa , Peru, January 14, 2018.

A man and a child stand at debris of a building after a strong magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the coast of southern Peru, in Acari, Arequipa , Peru, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Diego Ramos

“We are going to send everything that is needed, such as tents for people whose homes were destroyed,” Kuczynski told reporters in Chala.

Earthquakes are common in Peru, but many homes are built with precarious materials that cannot withstand the tremors.

In 2007 an earthquake killed hundreds in the region of Ica.

Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz said at a news conference in Lima that the government would declare a state of emergency in the affected zones to allow for faster reconstruction of roads and homes. Devastating floods last year resulted in $8 billion in rebuilding costs.

Peruvian maritime authorities said the quake did not produce a tsunami on the coast. In the morning, officials said a second person had died and that 17 people were missing in a mine, but later withdrew the reports.

Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer, although many mines in the south are located far inland from the quake’s epicenter. A Southern Copper Corp representative said there were no reports of damage at its Cuajone and Toquepala mines.

Jesus Revilla, a union leader at the Cerro Verde copper mine in Arequipa, said there were no reports that operations had been affected.

The quake was also felt in northern Chile, Peru’s southern neighbor, but authorities said there was no tsunami risk.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Luc Cohen; Additional reporting by Antonio de la Jara in Santiago; Editing by Louise Heavens, Lisa Von Ahn and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Storms slam U.S. Southeast as bitter cold drags on

A woman stops to photograph the frozen Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain in New York, U.S., January 3, 2018.

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – Winter storms swept up the U.S Southeast toward New England on Wednesday as snow, freezing rain and strong winds added to record-shattering cold that had much of the eastern United States in its grip.

The wintry mix and low wind chills could cause widespread power outages and leave roads icy, making commuting treacherous for millions of Americans from northern Florida to southern Virginia, the National Weather Service said in a series of warnings.

Some schools and universities in those states were closed on Wednesday in anticipation of the storm. Many flights out of the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia and Tallahassee Airport in Florida were canceled.

The weather service said its Tallahassee office measured a snow and sleet accumulation of 0.1 inch (2.5mm) on its roof early in the day, the first time Florida’s capital has had snow in nearly 30 years.

The service said travel in northeastern Florida was likely to be difficult and dangerous.

Two to 3 inches of snow was expected in northeastern Florida, coastal Georgia and South Carolina, according to early morning forecasts, said weather service meteorologist Bob Oravec.

Some Florida and Georgia residents shared images on social media of light snow accumulating.

“So a #SnowDay in #Florida. We know hurricanes. Snow? Not sure what to do here. How do you luge?,” wrote one Twitter user, @thejalexkelly.

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged residents in the north of the state to brace themselves for the cold. He said cold weather shelters have either opened or would be opened in 22 of the state’s 67 counties.

Some coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia could ultimately receive up to 6 inches (15 cm) of snow, along with an accumulation of ice, while parts of New England could see 12 to 15 inches (30-38 cm) of snow and wind gusts of 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour) by the end of week, the weather service said.

Late on Tuesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 28 of the state’s 159 counties.

As the storm bears down, an arctic air mass will remain entrenched over the eastern two-thirds of the country through the end of the week, forecasters said. The record-low temperatures were to blame for at least eight deaths in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Dakota and Michigan over the past several days, officials said.

A large swath of the Midwest was under a wind chill warning on Wednesday as places like Cleveland and Indianapolis had temperatures in the wind of 5 to 20 degrees below zero in Fahrenheit (minus 20 to minus 29 degrees Celsius), while the Deep South faced deep-freeze temperatures that threatened crops and pipes, the weather service warned.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Jonathan Oatis)

Florida governor declares emergency before white nationalist’s speech

FILE PHOTO: Richard Spencer, a leader and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, speaks to the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

(Reuters) – Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of a speech by a white nationalist leader later this week at the University of Florida, in order to free up resources to prepare for possible violence.

Rallies by neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August led to violent street clashes with counter-protesters. After the melee, as counter-protesters were dispersing, a 20-year-old man who is said by law enforcement to have harbored Nazi sympathies smashed his car into the crowd, killing a 32-year-old woman.

“This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe,” Scott said in a statement.

Scott said in the order there was a need to implement a coordinated security plan among local and state agencies before the speech by Richard Spencer on Thursday in Gainesville.

Spencer heads a white nationalist group

University of Florida officials were not immediately available for comment. Local media reports said the school was threatened with a lawsuit if it tried to block Spencer.

The Orlando Sentinel newspaper quoted Spencer as saying the emergency declaration was “flattering” but “most likely overkill.”

In a video message this week, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs told students to stay away, deny Spencer attention and ignore his “message of hate.”

“The values of our universities are not shared by Mr. Spencer. Our campuses are places where people from all races, origins and religions are welcome and treated with love,” he said, adding he was required by law to allow him speak.

“We refuse to be defined by this event. We will overcome this external threat to our campus and our values,” Fuchs said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Peter Cooney)

California governor declares wildfire state of emergency

California governor declares wildfire state of emergency

By Keith Coffman

(Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday issued an emergency declaration for a wildfire burning in the northern part of the state, the same day the man accused of starting the blaze was charged with arson.

The so-called Ponderosa Fire has burned 3,715 acres (1,503 hectares) and destroyed 30 homes in Butte County, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders to residents of some 500 homes in the area, officials said. It was 40 percent contained on Friday, up from 30 percent the day before.

The blaze is burning east of the town of Oroville, about 85 miles (137 km) north of the state capital of Sacramento.

The declaration will free up additional resources to battle the blaze, which erupted on Tuesday from a campfire that was started outside a designated area.

The man charged with starting the fire, John Ballenger, made his first court appearance in Butte County Superior Court on Friday, District Attorney Michael Ramsey said in a telephone interview.

Ballenger is charged with two counts of arson and was ordered held on a $1 million bond, Ramsey said. Ballenger could face up to seven years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Ballenger was appointed a public defender and is due back in court to enter a plea on Wednesday. The public defender’s office could not be reached for comment.

Ballenger was camping on property his family owns, Ramsey said.

“He had a campfire burning 24-7,” the district attorney said.

Meanwhile, another wildfire broke out on Friday, more than 400 miles (644 km) south of the Ponderosa blaze, in a north Los Angeles neighborhood.

The 2,000-acre (810 hectare) blaze triggered the closure of a section of the 210 Freeway as it tore through brush, and authorities also told residents of 200 homes in the area to evacuate because of approaching flames, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart.

In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock on Friday declared a state of disaster due to wildfires as dozens raged across tens of thousands of acres during one of the worst fire seasons in state history.

Bone-dry conditions, high winds and triple-digit temperatures pose “an imminent threat” to residents, Bullock said in the disaster declaration, which would allow the state to mobilize additional Montana National Guard troops and tap other state resources to combat the blazes.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Additional reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho, and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles,; Editing by Richard Chang and Nick Macfie)

City of Montreal declares state of emergency from flooding

A man paddles a canoe in a flooded residential area in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

(Reuters) – The city of Montreal declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon as floodwaters spread from torrential rains that have lashed the city since early on Friday, causing the worst flooding in decades, city officials said.

The state of emergency, which gives firefighters extra resources to battle the flooding, will be in place for 48 hours and the situation will be reviewed afterward. The city of Montreal said in a statement that it would take several days for the situation to get back to normal.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) helps fill sandbags after flooding in Terrasse-Vaudreuil, Quebec

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) helps fill sandbags after flooding in Terrasse-Vaudreuil, Quebec, Canada May 7, 2017. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

Across the Canadian province of Quebec, 126 municipalities are now considered part of flood zones, and the number of homes hit by flooding is in the thousands, CBC News reported on Sunday.

In Montreal, the province’s most populous city, 221 people have been flooded out of their homes, prompting Mayor Denis Coderre to urge residents to comply with evacuation orders, the officials said.

The Canadian military will deploy about 1,200 troops to help deal with the flooding, CBC reported. Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel described the rainfall as historic.

A resident sits on a swing in a flooded residential area in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada

A resident sits on a swing in a flooded residential area in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada, May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Bishop says state of emergency not enough to protect Egypt’s Copts

People walk on a street in Egypt’s Southern governorate of Minya, Egypt April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Amina Ismail

By Amina Ismail

MINYA, Egypt (Reuters) – The Egyptian government needs to do more to protect the country’s Coptic Christians from a “wave of persecution” following bombings that killed dozens during the church’s most solemn week of the year, a senior bishop said.

Bishop Macarius, head of the Coptic diocese in Minya, south of Cairo, was skeptical that a state of emergency imposed after the Islamist attacks on Palm Sunday was adequate security and said the church wanted further guarantees.

Copts make up about 10 percent of the 92-million population of mostly Muslim Egypt and are the region’s largest Christian denomination, with a nearly 2,000-year-old history in the country.

The Coptic church in Egypt will mark Easter in a subdued fashion, Macarius said, with the usual prayers and religious observances but none of the celebrations and visits from dignitaries that would normally enliven the day.

“We can consider ourselves in a wave of persecution, but the church has gone through a lot in 20 centuries,” the bearded Macarius told Reuters in an interview.

“There are waves of persecution. It reaches to the highest point like a pyramid and then it goes down again,” the bishop said on Wednesday. “We are at a very high point.”

The bombings that killed 45 in Alexandria and Tanta last Sunday followed a series of sectarian attacks against the Copts and came days before Pope Francis is due to make his first visit to Egypt on April 28-29.

The attacks, claimed by Islamic State, represent a challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has pledged to protect the Copts as part of his campaign against extremism. Sisi visited Coptic Pope Tawadros in Cairo on Thursday to express his condolences.

Although Copts have suffered attacks before from their Muslim neighbors, who have burnt their homes and churches in rural areas, the community has felt increasingly insecure since Islamic State has spread through Iraq and Syria and started targeting Christians.

After the Palm Sunday attacks, Sisi’s government introduced a three-month state of emergency which gives it sweeping powers to act against what it calls enemies of the state.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the step was essential to combating what he called terrorist groups bent on undermining the country.

NO POLICE STATE

With a picture of Sisi hanging on the wall behind him, Macarius said the problem could not be tackled with a crackdown alone.

“Security solutions never succeeded alone. No state in the world should be a police state, either here or elsewhere,” the bishop said. “Emergency all the time makes people nervous.”

Sisi needs advisers who could brief him better on the religious, cultural and security aspects of the crisis, said Macarius, wearing an embroidered black cap.

The state also needed to find those who endorsed the ideology of the suicide bomber, he said, and authorities should devote more effort to monitoring social media.

Not far from where Macarius was speaking, Emad Aziz, 56, sat in his clothes shop counting the cost of the latest assault.

Egyptians usually buy new clothes to mark holidays such as Easter. Not this year, however.

“People are sad, and people buy new clothes when they are happy. The situation is really bad,” Aziz, a Christian, told Reuters. “Why would any Egyptian do this to his country? Is this loyalty to the country? Many people don’t want Egypt to get better.”

He agreed a state of emergency was “not a solution” to the situation of Copts in Egypt – where an economic crisis has severely eroded the living standards of millions.

Security appeared light at the Minya diocese but in Cairo, police have deployed around churches in force, erecting security barriers and metal detectors to screen those attending services in the days leading up to Easter.

In the Cairo district of Shubra, where many Christians live, worshippers filled a service at St Mark’s church, some following proceedings by scrolling the order of service across the screens of their smart phones.

A metal detector had been moved down the street so that any bomber could be stopped before reaching the church.

Romainy, a security guard, said members of the congregation were “sad but not scared”.

Across the street, a chicken seller, her dress flecked with feathers, said people were attending church as they always had.

“I would have gone to the service myself but I have work to do,” she said, declining to give her name.

Not everyone was so relaxed. At a nearby church, a plainclothes police officer told journalists: “It’s a very tense time in Egypt.”

(Additional reporting and writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Evacuees from California dam allowed home even as storms near

Oroville residents look at flooded area after evacuation order

By Deborah M. Todd

OROVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) – Californians who were ordered to evacuate due to a threat from the tallest dam in the United States can now return home after state crews working around the clock reinforced a drainage channel that was weakened by heavy rain.

Officials had ordered 188,000 people living down river from the Oroville Dam to evacuate on Sunday and reduced that to an evacuation warning on Tuesday, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

That means people can move back to their homes and businesses can reopen, but they should be prepared to evacuate again if necessary, Honea told a news conference.

Both the primary and backup drainage channels of the dam, known as spillways, were damaged by a buildup of water that resulted from an extraordinarily wet winter in Northern California that followed years of severe drought.

The greater danger was posed by the emergency spillway, which was subject to urgent repairs in recent days. Though damaged, the primary spillway was still useable, officials said.

More rain was forecast for as early as Wednesday and through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, but the state Department of Water Resources said the upcoming storms were unlikely to threaten the emergency spillway.

Evacuees received more good news from President Donald Trump, who declared an emergency in the state, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

The lifting of the mandatory evacuation improved the mood among evacuees at Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, where families packed cars and sifted through piles of donated clothing.

Philip Haar, 37, of Oroville, prepared to take his five dogs back home. He also would be able to feed the rabbit he left behind.

“I’m confident with the warning, at least we’ll know the next time something happens to be prepared more than this time,” Haar said.

But Richard and Anna Lawson of Oroville said they were not rushing home. Officials last week expressed calm, then abruptly ordered the evacuation on Sunday.

“They kept contradicting themselves. Every time they said something they turned around and said something different,” said Richard, 25.

“We’re waiting until tomorrow to hear something. We’re going to wait until the storm comes through,” said Anna, 21.

The sheriff credited swift action by the Department of Water Resources to shore up the emergency spillway and use the main spillway to relieve pressure on the dam, averting the immediate danger of a dam failure, Honea said.

A failure could have unleashed a wall of water three stories tall on towns below.

State officials used 40 trucks carrying 30 tons of rock per hour to reinforce the eroded area around the emergency spillway while two helicopters dropped rock and other materials into the breach.

“We’re aggressively attacking the erosion concerns that have been identified,” said William Croyle, acting director of the Department of Water Resources.

Water authorities had been relieving pressure on the dam through the concrete-lined primary spillway last week, but lake levels rose as storm water surged in and engineers moderated its use. Then the rising water topped over the earthen backup spillway, which has a concrete top, for the first time in the dam’s 50-year history over the weekend.

When the emergency spillway showed signs of erosion, engineers feared a 30-foot-high section could fail, leading to the evacuation order on Sunday. Both spillways are next to the dam, which itself is sound, engineers say.

(Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus and Sharon Bernstein; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Peter Henderson, James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

No return home in sight for thousands of Californians sheltering from dam

Oroville Dam flooding in Calfornia

By Deborah M. Todd and Sharon Bernstein

OROVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Californians faced an indefinite stay in shelters as engineers worked for a second day on Tuesday to fix the United States’ tallest dam before more storms sweep the region.

After what looks set to be the wettest winter in Northern California following years of drought, more rain was forecast for as early as Wednesday and through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Crews were working to shore up an overflow channel and drain the reservoir at the Lake Oroville Dam but authorities gave no indication of when it would be safe for people to go home.

Late on Sunday, about 188,000 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes in the Feather River valley below the dam, 65 miles (105 km) north of Sacramento.

Authorities say they had averted the immediate danger of a catastrophic failure at the dam that could unleash a wall of water three stories tall on towns below.

“We’re doing everything we can to get this dam in shape that they can return and they can live safely without fear. It’s very difficult,” California Governor Jerry Brown told reporters during a news conference on Monday evening.

On Monday, Brown sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump asking him to issue an emergency declaration, which would open up federal assistance for the affected communities, after an emergency overflow channel appeared on the brink of collapse.

Yolanda Davila, 62, of Thermalito, ended up at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, one of only five in the area taking people with pets. She left home without medicine and dog food in the rush to find shelter before the evacuation deadline.

She said that areas such as Sacramento had been issued flood warnings earlier in the week and that authorities should have warned residents near Oroville much sooner.

“We didn’t have a plan, all we knew is to head north toward Chico,” Davila said. “If I knew we had to get out earlier I would have went to the Bay Area.”

The earth-filled dam is just upstream and east of Oroville, a town of about 16,000 people. At 770 feet (230 meters) high, the structure, built between 1962 and 1968, it is more than 40 feet taller than the Hoover Dam.

On Monday afternoon, crews dropped large bags filled with rocks into a gap at the top of the emergency spillway to rebuild the eroded hillside.

The main spillway, a separate channel, is also damaged because part of its concrete lining fell apart last week. Both spillways are to the side of the dam itself, which has not been compromised, engineers said.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Louise Ireland)