More than normal rainfall over the past month has changed Lake Shasta dramatically, causing water levels in California’s largest reservoir to rise 60 feet since the end of December.
Lack of rainfall over the past few years in the northern states has dried up the lakes and lowered water levels, leaving vast stretches of shoreline that were turned into parking lots and campgrounds.
By Monday the lake was 56% full, an improvement from the 34% recorded on January 3rd. January.
After three years of drought, “normal” has been a welcome relief, said Don Bader, area manager for the Reclamation Authority, which manages several North State dams, including Shasta.
“That was crazy good news,” Bader said. “This will allow us to quickly return to normal storage for this date, which is good. We were pretty far behind on that curve. It depends on whether we get additional rain.”
At the beginning of the month, parts of the Head Tower could still be seen rising above the water. The head tower was used during the construction of the Shasta Dam, but after the dam was completed in the early 1940s, the structure was severed near its base.
When the lake level is very low, the remnants of the tower legs are revealed.
“About 100 feet down, you start to see the head towers, which means you’re having a bad year,” Vader said in 2021. It’s doing fine with water. ”
Rising water levels in Lake Shasta will affect the entire state as reservoir water is distributed to institutions from Redding to Southern California.
The state’s drought got so bad last year that many institutions that depend on water from reservoirs received little or no quota. Only the bare minimum of water needed for health and safety was provided.
Most of California has been downgraded to a “moderate” drought, according to the Drought Monitor, but Shasta County and much of the Northern State are still in “severe” drought conditions. The Northern Province was still in “extreme” drought conditions at the beginning of January.
Bader said rainfall in January helped ease the drought, but more rainfall is needed in the coming months.
The Department of Water Resources measured about 18 inches of precipitation at Shasta Dam in January, and the National Weather Service recorded 9 inches of precipitation at Reading Regional Airport. Average rainfall for Redding in January is 5.66 inches, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The forecast calls for showers on Thursday and Friday, so no major storms for the rest of the week.
Reporter Damon Arthur welcomes story tips at 530-338-8834, by email at [email protected], and on Twitter. @damonarthur_RSHelp local journalism thrive subscribe today
This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight. Lake Shasta rises 60 feet in January