Recent storms help raise local lakes

Jan 21, 2016 2:19 AM by Anthony Peters

It hasn't been the wettest winter ever, but three weeks in and2016 is starting off right. Creeks and rivers have been surging lately with some areas in the north state threatened by possible flooding. However, all that rain has been ending up in the local lakes and reservoirs which has seen great improvements.

"Well the lakes have really jumped a lot lately," KHSL chief meteorologist Kris Kuyper said. "Lake Oroville has jumped 40 feet in the last month."

Half of that total has come in the last week as storm after storm has soaked California and has helped bring Lake Oroville's levels to 55 percent of normal. The wet winter couldn't have come at a better time as Lake Oroville recorded its lowest levels in decades this past December. But it's not just the water in the lake right now that is making the difference, the above average snow pack in the Sierras has increased the likelihood of closer to average levels come spring.

"The snow pack is our water bank for California," said Kevin Wright, the California Department of Water Resources Oroville Field Division's water services supervisor. "It's over 100 percent up here in the north, we're hopeful that the snow pack will have increased since the last one."

Coupled with predictions of a wet spring, and Northern California lakes could be closer to normal come summer.

"El Nino is still roaring strong it may continue for a while," Kuyper said. "We could see wet conditions into May and into June potentially."

However, even with an above average winter, California will more than likely still be facing drought conditions.

"Even if we fill the lake, and we spill the lake the ground water tables have not been replenished," Wright said. "That takes more time then just one season."

"It seems weird with all the rain we've had, we still have a long ways to go," Kuyper said. "Hopefully we can say something come May or June but for the time being, we still have to conserve."


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