Oroville - The stress of evacuation and an uncertain future were enough for Donald Azevedo and his family to opt to stay a few more nights in an emergency shelter rather than risk having to do it all again.The family was among the nearly 200 000 Californians who live downstream from the country's tallest dam who were told they could return home but warned they may have to flee again if repairs made to the battered Oroville Dam spillways don't hold.The fixes could be put to their first test later this week with the first of a series of small storms forecast for the region expected to reach the area on Wednesday night.Garbage bag"There is the prospect that we could issue another evacuation order if the situation changes and the risk increases," said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, telling residents they could return home but to remain vigilant.That's why Azevedo wasn't budging yet."My plan is to stay here," said Azevedo, who evacuated from Marysville with his wife, Tasha, their four Chihuahuas and more than 30 relatives."I'm not trying to risk traffic, being stuck in floods. I'm safe where I'm at," Azevedo said.Many other evacuees, such as Oroville resident Margaret Johnston, couldn't wait to get back home."You don't appreciate home until it's taken away from you," said Johnston, 69, who spent the last two nights sheltering at a church in Chico, California. As she packed the blankets, pillows and clothing she had hastily thrown into a black garbage bag, she reflected on the mad rush to leave, the chaos, confusion and bottleneck traffic on the drive out. "It was just frustrating. Very frustrating."Residents living below the Oroville Dam were suddenly ordered to evacuate on Sunday afternoon after authorities had assured them for nearly a week that the dam was sound despite a gaping and growing hole found in the structure's main spillway. The order came after authorities feared an earthen emergency spillway used when the lake behind the dam overflows its capacity appeared ready to fail because of erosion on Sunday.Two days after issuing the evacuation order, officials lifted it but uncertainty remained.Snowfall meltsOver the weekend, the swollen lake spilled down the unpaved emergency spillway for nearly 40 hours, leaving it badly eroded. The problem occurred six days after engineers discovered a growing hole in the dam's main concrete spillway.State and federal officials ignored calls in 2005 from environmental groups to armour the earthen spillway in concrete to prevent erosion. Federal regulators concluded the earthen spillway could handle a large amount of overflow after water agencies that would have had to pay for the upgrade argued it was unnecessary.Others fear the real test is still to come in the weeks ahead when a record amount of snowfall melts in nearby mountains.