3/14/16, "Drenched by 'March Miracle,' Northern California reservoirs inch toward capacity," LA Times, Joseph Serna
"A series of storms pushed California’s biggest reservoir past its
historical average for mid-March this weekend and put the second largest
one on track for doing the same by Monday afternoon, officials said.
the Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville reservoirs have the capacity to hold
more than 8 million acre feet of water and after a wet weekend in
Northern California, they were 79% and 70% full, respectively, by Monday
morning, according to the state Department of Water Resources.
Some people have referred to the recent series of powerful storms
that have dumped rain and snow on the Sierra as the “March Miracle.”
The storms filled Lake Shasta above its average
for this time of year and by 4 p.m. Monday, Lake Oroville surpassed its
historic average, said DWR spokesman Doug Carlson. Lake Shasta is the
state's largest reservoir.
“It’s happened a little quicker than I
personally thought,” Carlson said. “It would appear the [seasonal
storms] have really achieved what they historically do, which is deliver
a lot of rainfall to the mountains.”
Neither reservoir has reached its historical average in nearly three years, data show....
According to the National Weather Service,
it rained nearly a foot in El Dorado County and more than nine inches
in Shasta County between Friday and Monday mornings. Since March 1, the
Shasta reservoir has received more than 16 inches of rain.
On March 6, Lake Oroville saw its biggest single-day rise in 12 years, DWR reported.
the soggy month continues, both reservoirs could actually fill to the
brim by April, officials say. Neither reservoir has been full since
about the beginning of the drought, officials said. The Shasta reservoir would need about 1 million acre feet more of rain to hit its capacity.
“It’s possible that it could fill if the wet pattern continues…it’s
on track to at least get to average storage” for that time of year, said
Shane Hunt, a spokesman with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which
monitors the Shasta reservoir.
After four years of drought, even
hitting a 15-year historical average for a reservoir in California is a
sign of progress, experts say.
“It’s definitely a step in the
right direction, but it’s not a panacea. We’re not saved,” Hunt said.
“We dug a pretty big hole in a lot of spots.”
Other reservoirs across the state are also doing well. The once-anemic Lake Folsom is now at 116% of historical average for the date and at 69% of total capacity."