El Niño is rapidly filling California’s once-dusty reservoirs, easing drought

El Niño may not be showing up in Southern California. But it’s having a big effect in Northern California, where a series of storms are rapidly filling reservoirs.

Together the Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville reservoirs have a capacity of more than 8 million acre-feet of water. After a wet weekend in Northern California, Lake Shasta was above its average for this time of year, and by 4 p.m. Monday Lake Oroville had surpassed its historical average, said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson.

The rising reservoirs, along with growing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, are important because both are key sources of water for California. The snowpack now stands at 92% of normal statewide, with the northern area now at 102% of normal.

Shasta Lake

A key source for the state’s water works

#ShastaLake California’s largest reservoir rose 122’ since December to 79% capacity #ElNino— Tom Kierein (@TomKierein) March 14, 2016

Congrats, California! Lake Shasta, CA’s most important reservoir, now at 103% of normal. 1st time since April 2013.— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) March 14, 2016


Pretty crazy what El Niño can do in a year. This is a comparison of Lake Shasta 2015 / 2016 ¿¿¿¿. #WeGoodNow— Joe Namba ¿ (@joe_nam7) March 14, 2016

Shasta Dam and Lake— Trey Pitsenberger (@pitsenberger) March 15, 2016

Lake Oroville

Another key source of water for the state.

Lake Oroville is now above average as well! Joining Shasta and Folsom.— Rob Carlmark (@rcarlmark) March 15, 2016

Loafer Creek SRA boat launch open, #LakeOroville water levels on the rise.— bill husa (@billhusa1) March 14, 2016

Lake Folsom

Once-anemic Lake Folsom is now at 116% of historical average for the date and at 69% of total capacity.

Beautiful view of a healthy looking Folsom Lake. The releases are needed. The lake will be full this summer— Mark Finan (@kcraFinan) March 8, 2016

First time in 4 years Folsom Dam opens floodgates. Lake 2 years ago & today. #ElNino #Folsom— Anthony Yanez (@AnthonyNBCLA) March 8, 2016

Folsom Lake likely to see 0.9M-1.7M acre-feet of runoff April-July. Uncertainty bc of chance for late-season storms.— David Bienick (@kcrabienick) March 15, 2016

Hangtown creek rushing in Placerville. Water bound for Folsom Lake. Rain is done but reservoir inflows remain high— Eileen Javora (@kcrajavora) March 14, 2016


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