Desperate For Rain, California Gets Pounded

Shasta Lake has a long ways to go before it even begins to return to normal levels despite heavy rains falling throughout California. (KELLY M. GROW/DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)

Shasta Lake has a long ways to go before it even begins to return to normal levels despite heavy rains falling throughout California. (KELLY M. GROW/DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)

 

I talked to my dad in San Bruno last night, and while he marveled when looking out his window and seeing his street flood (it didn’t rise any further than the curb, fortunately. “We need a lot more rain,” he said, adding though that a storm that’s pounded the state in both the north and south has had enough for the time being.

Just how much this particular storm – which is has

Here’s the San Jose Mercury News on some of the state’s dangerously low reservoirs:

The state’s two largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake near Redding, and Lake Oroville in Butte County, are projected to take in 510,000 acre-feet of water in storm runoff by Tuesday, with 370,000 going to Shasta and 140,000 flowing into Oroville, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

That’s a staggering amount of water — 166 billion gallons from a single storm, enough water for 2.5 million Californians for a year. It would fill half a million football fields one-foot deep — all captured by the reservoirs that form the linchpin of the federal and state water systems that serve millions of California residents from San Jose to San Diego and irrigate vast expanses of Central Valley farmland.

But will it fill them up?

Not even close.

After three years of drought, Shasta Lake on Wednesday night was just 26 percent full. Oroville was only 29 percent full. With the water from this storm, Shasta will be 34 percent full, Oroville 33 percent full. And that’s still below the historic average of where they normally are in mid-December.

Among Southern California’s biggest drought-related concern with this much heavy rain falling is mudslide risk in areas that were charred by summer wildfires. We hope everyone stays safe, and as all of us – like me – who have lived in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles and know our history of being rather lousy drivers in wet weather, stay safe out there, folks.

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