Insane drone footage shows massive damage and flooding at California's Oroville Dam

Drone and helicopter footage over Northern California's imperiled Oroville Dam show the widespread damage and furious flooding that forced more than 200,000 people to evacuate on Sunday.

High water levels at Lake Oroville this weekend prompted authorities to use the dam's emergency spillway for the first time in its nearly 50-year history. The main spillway had suffered unexpected erosion earlier this week after heavy rains caused a 30-foot-deep hole in the structure.

SEE ALSO: From drought to flood, nation's biggest dam topped for first time in 50 years

In aerial footage, water is seen roaring down the dam's damaged spillway, looking like the world's most terrifying waterslide. The emergency spillway appears more like a muddy mess of small creeks that spill menacingly from the reservoir.

The situation at Oroville Dam comes as much of California is suffering from climate whiplash.

After enduring a record six-year drought, parts of the Golden State are seeing near-record levels of rain and snowfall as a slew of atmospheric "rivers" dump precipitation across the region.

In California's Northern Sierra region, total precipitation is already at 68 inches for the season — far above the 2015-2016 total of 57.9 inches, and only 20.5 inches shy of the record 1982-1983 season, according to the National Weather Service.

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Lake Oroville dam -- emergency spillway and evacuation
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Lake Oroville dam -- emergency spillway and evacuation
TOPSHOT - The Oroville Dam spillway releases 100,000 cubic feet of water per second down the main spillway in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders in northern California Monday after a threat of catastrophic failure at the United States' tallest dam. Officials said the threat had subsided for the moment as water levels at the Oroville Dam, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Sacramento, have eased. But people were still being told to stay out of the area. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
OROVILLE, CA - JULY 20: In this handout photo provided by the California Department of Water Resources, Full water levels are visible behind the Oroville Dam at Lake Oroville on July 20, 2011 in Oroville, California. (Photo by Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images)
California Department of Water Resources personnel monitor water flowing through a damaged spillway on the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S., on February 10, 2017.
FOLSOM, CA - JULY 20: In this handout photo provided by the California Department of Water Resources, Full water levels are visible behind the Folsom Dam at Folsom Lake on July 20, 2011 in El Folsom, California. (Photo by Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images)
OROVILLE, CA - AUGUST 19: The Oroville Dam spillway stands dry at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs is reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
65,000 cfs of water flow through a damaged spillway on the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
California Department of Water Resources crews inspect and evaluate the erosion just below the Lake Oroville Emergency Spillway site after lake levels receded, in Oroville, California, U.S., February 13, 2017. Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
California Department of Water Resources personnel monitor water flowing through a damaged spillway on the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S., on February 10, 2017.
A damaged spillway with eroded hillside is seen in an aerial photo taken over the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 11, 2017. California Department of Water Resources/William Croyle/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY.
A damaged spillway with eroded hillside is seen in an aerial photo taken over the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 11, 2017. California Department of Water Resources/William Croyle/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Riverbend Park is seen under flood water in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders in northern California Monday after a threat of catastrophic failure at the United States' tallest dam. Officials said the threat had subsided for the moment as water levels at the Oroville Dam, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Sacramento, have eased. But people were still being told to stay out of the area. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Crews work on a damaged section of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders in northern California Monday after a threat of catastrophic failure at the United States' tallest dam. Officials said the threat had subsided for the moment as water levels at the Oroville Dam, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Sacramento, have eased. But people were still being told to stay out of the area. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A home is seen marooned as the surrounding property is submerged in flood water in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders in northern California Monday after a threat of catastrophic failure at the United States' tallest dam. Officials said the threat had subsided for the moment as water levels at the Oroville Dam, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Sacramento, have eased. But people were still being told to stay out of the area. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Riverbend Park is seen under flood water in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders in northern California Monday after a threat of catastrophic failure at the United States' tallest dam. Officials said the threat had subsided for the moment as water levels at the Oroville Dam, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Sacramento, have eased. But people were still being told to stay out of the area. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Water is released from the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A road is closed by the flooded Feather River outside town below the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Rocks are hauled to the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A helicopter flies rocks to the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Trucks carry rocks as water is released from the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation order was lifted for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Staff with the California Department of Water Resources watch as water is released from the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation was ordered for communities downstream from the dam in Oroville, California, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Reconstruction continues in a race to shore up the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif., on Feb. 15, 2017. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 16: Clouds drift in the sky after morning showers at the Oroville Dam overlook where helicopters are ferrying sand and rocks to the dam's emergency spillway reconstruction project in Oroville, Calif., on Feb. 16, 2017. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 16: California Water Service district manager Toni Ruggle (CQ) surveys the Feather River at Riverbed Park downstream from Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif., on Feb. 16, 2017. For decades, city officials have used the steps at the park to gauge the height of the river. Water up to the fourth step is 100,000 cubic feet per second. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 16: A mallard floats past a picnic table along the swollen Feather River at Riverbed Park downstream from Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif., on Feb. 16, 2017. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Cots are washed and set to dry at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds evacuation center in Chico, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. State officials rushed to repair an emergency spillway for the Oroville dam -- just 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of San Francisco -- that is threatening to submerge an entire region of northern California after a recent deluge of rain. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images
OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 14: A dog sits in the back of a pickup truck as a helicopter picks up a bag of rocks at a staging area near the Oroville Dam on February 14, 2017 in Oroville, California. More than 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate after a hole in the emergency spillway in the Oroville Dam threatened to flood the surrounding area. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
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With more rain expected later this week, California authorities are scrambling to fix the Oroville Dam's spillways and reduce the reservoir's water levels to avoid another debacle at the dam.

The 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam — the nation's tallest — lies 150 miles northeast of San Francisco. Its reservoir is the nation's second-biggest man-made lake.

California's Department of Water Resources on Sunday evening ordered the evacuation of around 200,000 people from towns lying below Lake Oroville.

Officials warned the main and emergency spillways could both fail, sending a dangerous 30-foot wall of water into communities below. California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency order on Sunday to help with response efforts.

By Monday morning, however, the immediate threat seemed to have passed.

Water levels at Lake Oroville had dropped to around 897 feet, below the 901-foot threshold for using the lake's spillways.

Flows over the emergency spillway had stopped, while about 100,000 cubic feet-per-second of water continued down the main spillway, the Department of Water Resources said.

Credit for first video: Instagram/radbones4l via Storyful

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