Saturday, April 15, 2017

It begins...

Water inflow at Lake Oroville on April 14 at 3 p.m. was a stunning 51,378 cubic feet per second, up from 15,000 cubic feet just 48 hours earlier. With the water level rising to 865.84 feet, just 4.14 feet from the danger zone, California Department of Water Resources engineers opened the dam’s gates and started continuously releasing water at down the nearly-destroyed spillway at its top rate of 35,069 cubic feet per second.

In another dangerous development,  UCLA climate scientist and author of the Water West blog, Daniel Swain, posted images taken from space by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast Satellite System that has identified a high probability of a potential 7 to 10-day heat wave bearing down on northern California.
Swain warned that of a major snowmelt across the Sierras. He warned that a Hurricane Katrina-level flood risk could develop along eastern slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountains over the coming weeks. He highlighted that that the melting snowpack on the Nevada side could send 500 billion gallons of water into the swollen Walker and Carson rivers.

Update: The best source for news on this stuff is the CDEC website, and it shows that yesterday the inflow was 35,865, not 51,378, but that might be a daily average vs. top daily inflow.   The data does show the lake filling ominously, and the spring snowmelt hasn't really started yet and they expect new snow at higher elevations tomorrow night.  The peak of the snow season is normally April 1st, and here we are still accumulating.

Keep in mind that the summer solstice is June 21st, and we haven't had any really warm weather yet.

Last week I was having lunch with some business associates and one of them told me that a relative had a home in Oroville he was trying to sell, and wasn't able to because no one could get a loan for a house in that town, which might not even be there in a month or two.  Property values were also significantly down.  The spectacular failure of a huge water project upstream from your place isn't normally a consideration when buying, but it is now.


  1. It would be nice if we had more damns to catch that water. As is, it all goes into the Pacific.

  2. I used to work for CDEC in California!

    But, it was the OTHER "CDEC", i.e., the Combat Developments Experimentation Command headquartered at Fort Ord (now closed), but operating at Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation (since renamed Fort Hunter Liggett).

    I was stationed there when I returned from the old Republic of Viet Nam, and that's where I got my first driver's license and bought my first car, a 1963 Chevy II Nova station wagon with a 1965 Chevelle 283 V-8 engine and transmission.

    From there, I went to Korea.

  3. Too bad Calimexcommifornia does not have any reservoirs built to store all this excess goodness.