Lake Shasta Water Level Current - Some companies said people have already started booking trips for the spring and summer because the lake is only about 40 feet below capacity.
SHASTA LAKE, Calif. - Shasta Lake is growing. This is a boost for farmers, but also a big relief for businesses that rely on recreation.
Lake Shasta Water Level Current
As the water rises on the lake, places like Holiday Harbor and Lake Shasta Caverns are anticipating what it will mean for business in the coming months.
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"I've been here 50 years, so nothing really surprises me, but it's good news. It's just good news," said Holiday Harbor Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley.
"It's amazing. It's like night and day. The water you see behind me was a dry lake bed a couple of months ago. We don't have a drop of water here in our bay," he said Kelley.
Kelley said he hasn't seen lake levels like this in at least several years. There was a lot of uncertainty in November and December, but things are finally starting to pick up.
"When the water level is low, it's a disaster. We don't know how many people will come on vacation. We try to advertise, we try to advertise, but the business is driven by the level of the lake. It has always been so. way," Kelley said.
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Business has already started to pick up in Holiday Harbour, with many people making bookings for the spring and summer.
"Some of them haven't been here the last couple of years because of the lake level, so now that the lake level is up, people are getting excited about everything and ordering their boats early," Kelley said. .
Kelley said the rising water level also led to the construction of some additional docks in the harbor.
"We're definitely starting to recover," said Matt Doyle, general manager of Lake Shasta Caverns.
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"It makes the bus ride a lot shorter and the boat ride a lot longer. We know when the lakes fill up, people want to come out and we're hoping for a big crowd," Doyle said.
"All the workers at the lake, especially the last two months. A lot of people don't see when those weather warnings come to stay at home and stay off the roads everyone who works here at the lake, we are usually here. "We have people sleeping on the pier, watching the ships, watching the pier system to make sure that all the infrastructure is taken care of and safe, so when we travel in the summer, we are ready for that," Doyle said. .
Doyle said more than 450 people have visited the caves this month alone, and weather permitting, he expects his dinner cruises to resume in May. The Caverns expect 68,000 to 70,000 visitors this year.
California Water Storage
That's expected to change over the next 10 days as a series of wet storms move through the region, dropping several inches of rain, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for Shasta County on Wednesday and Thursday .
"This next system that's going to move in will have a big impact on Shasta," the director of the U.S. Regional Claims Office said. Don Bader said Tuesday morning. "We're probably looking at 40 or 50 feet of lake."
The Bureau of Reclamation manages Shasta Lake and Trinity Lake. Both reservoirs contain water that is used to supply a number of local water agencies, including the cities of Lake Shasta, the Bella Vista Water District and other smaller water districts.
Trinity Lake, which also supplies water to Whiskeytown Lake and the Sacramento River, was at 38% of normal, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
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The biggest winner of December's wet weather was Folsom Lake outside Sacramento, which was nearly two-thirds full on Tuesday and 148% of average.
"The American River is a pretty big watershed, and Folsom isn't really a big reservoir, so sometimes it was rising a foot an hour," Bader said.
He said that the flow in Folsom was about 100,000 cubic feet per second, while Shasta Lake "had barely 15,000 to 20,000" cf.
"The next system we see four in one day. That's why the big increase in Shasta," said Bader. "We can fill this thing in the winter. Shasta can be full, but it's going to rain.
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"December, January and February are the main months of precipitation. We have to have this because spring has arrived and we just want to see not the big winter events," said Bader.
Meanwhile, the Department of Water Resources released its first snow report on Tuesday, which showed snow across the state at 174% of average for that date.
Despite the encouraging numbers, state water officials said relief from the prolonged drought will depend on the coming months.
And while the snow in the mountains is also a welcome sight, Bader reiterated that the most important thing for Lake Shasta is the rain - 90% of the water that fills the reservoir every year comes from rain.
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"What's killed us the last couple of years is that it's been so damn dry, all the water and snow that's coming into the tributaries has gone straight to the ground," Bader said. "These December rains got wet and dirty, and now most of the flow (will go) into the lake." Shasta Lake has reached water levels not seen since 2019, according to California officials. That abundance means more water will be released from Shasta Dam this spring when the plant begins operating at full capacity.
According to the National Weather Service, the reservoir experienced a major surge after winter storms dumped enough rain and snow in western Shasta County to exceed the historical average. This is a refreshing change after three years of drought.
As of Tuesday morning, Shasta Dam's reservoir is at 93% of capacity, said Donald Bader, area director for the US Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam. This is 13% more than the 30-year historical average.
Monday's light rains boosted reservoir totals by several hundredths of an inch, meteorologist Eric Kurth said Tuesday morning at the Weather Service's Sacramento office. A few isolated showers could add a few cents Tuesday afternoon before the weather heats up this weekend.
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But California's largest man-made reservoir has room for more. As of Tuesday morning, the water level at Shasta Dam "is 11 feet from the top of the spillway," Bader said.
Even with heavy snowfall in late February and heavy rains in March, it's unlikely water levels will rise enough to spill over the dam's upper gates, Bader said. But "soon we will increase the flows from Shasta Dam, bringing the plant to full generation. This will help us manage the traffic so that it will almost increase in the coming weeks."
More water in the reservoir now means fewer problems, he said. "In addition to (Lake) Shasta starting the summer months at full capacity," Bader said, "the end of the summer reservoir will be much higher than we've had in the last three years ". we are off to a good start and I hope to have a full tank again next winter.
In 2019 the lake reached 99% of its capacity and was 2.5 feet from the top of the dam's spillway gate, Bader said.
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It would take a lot of rain and snow this year to keep the lake water up until 2019.
From October 2018 to April 18, 2019, Shasta Dam received nearly 85 inches of rain, which was 142% of the historical average, Kurth said. As of 2022 October 1 the dam was just over 68 inches.
That's still a big hit compared to the average annual rainfall of 56.5 inches, Kurth said. Shasta Dam is "120% normal. Last year, it reached 74 percent." April 18.
This year, rain and snow levels have also exceeded historical averages, Kurth said. From 2022 October 1 more than 36 centimeters of rain fall at the airport; almost seven inches above and 123% of the historical average.
California's Historic Drought
With most of the rain gone — a couple hundredths of an inch scattered Monday, Kurth said — this weekend could be a good time to play Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown and other outdoor courses. However, according to the US Forest Service, the water is still cold and moving quickly in places, so check conditions before going out or wading.
The area will have partly cloudy skies Wednesday, with sunnier conditions Thursday through the weekend, Kurth said.
Will have light
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