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The Desert Is Made of Water

The California Desert includes some of the driest, hottest places on the planet. There are parts of the California desert where entire years have been recorded with no rainfall. Those places are notable mainly because someone was keeping records. Across the tens of thousands of square miles of diverse ecosystems that make up the California desert, there are entire valleys, entire mountain ranges that get just a trace of rain in a typical year.

And yet there are few places in the desert that are not almost entirely shaped by water.

After a Short Break, Northern California in for Rainy Week

Enjoy your dry Monday, but don’t get too used to the non-rainy weather we’re experiencing across the Bay Area. Forecasters far and wide and their mathematical models expect the coming week to range from wet to inundated, depending on where you live.

The latest thinking from National Weather Service forecasters is that the next round of rain will begin across most of the region, from the coastal hills of Sonoma to the Santa Cruz Mountains, by sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Wet weather rapidly filling Folsom Lake

The latest series of winter storms is having an impact in California, and it’s starting to show. Bureau of Reclamation officials report as of December 1, Folsom Lake has risen 19 feet. Luis Moore, a Bureau of Reclamation spokesman, said while the amount of water is good, this time of year is also known as being a flood season. With so much water collecting at the lake, Moore notes water management will be important to maintain a safe amount of space within the lake.


Warm Winter Storms Melting Sierra Snowpack

Warm storms at high altitude are washing away snow in the Sierras and the runoff is filling up reservoirs throughout the northern part of California. The heavy rains are also impacting the slopes. “It’s slippery and hard to stop,” said one snowboarder at Boreal Mountain.

State workers at the Department of Water Resources are also taking notice.

“So you’re getting rains in areas that you should be getting snow,” said David Rizzardo, the Snow Survey Chief with the Department of Water Resources.

8 billion gallons of water fill Tahoe in 2 days

Lake Tahoe could reach its natural rim by the end of the week.

The storms that blew through Dec. 9-10 brought 8,690,131,707 gallons of water to the lake. That is 26,669 acre-feet.

The natural is rim is 6,223 feet. As of Dec. 11, the lake level was at 6,222.97 feet. The last time the lake was at its natural rim was in mid-September.

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a winter weather advisory for the basin from 10am Tuesday to 4am Wednesday. A couple of inches of snow may fall at lake level, with a foot possible above 8,000 feet.

Regional drought preparation in the pipeline

Some state water officials are on a drought listening tour. On Monday, they listened to local water agency representatives and elected leaders during an afternoon meeting at Santa Barbara County’s office of emergency services.

Instead of competing for water their goal is to work together as a region to get state and federal funding for water projects. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said people in the county need to be “rowing in the same direction.”

OPINION:Editorial: This water deal may be California’s best

California’s water fate is now tied to America’s. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and California Republicans have worked for years to find agreement on a major piece of federal legislation that would address a host of water-related issues critical to the state. Common ground has been so elusive some were declaring the whole thing hopeless earlier this year.

But in a bit of horse trading with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and other Republicans in Congress, the California measures were attached to a much larger Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act — basically hitching up to a much more powerful engine.

VIDEO: Rivers Swell After Weekend Storms, Sending More Debris And Lifting Boats Higher

A rapidly rising Sacramento River washes trees and junk down river. The Sacramento Yacht Club is preparing for the rise.

VIDEO: Late-week rain to douse county

Rain will douse Southern California late this week, with the potential for widespread precipitation beginning Thursday. While the rain will be beneficial in terms of the drought, rain and wind may cause travel disruptions Thursday and Friday. Expect clear skies and seasonal temperatures for the weekend.

Storm impacts flights, arctic blast on the way

A winter storm moving through the Great Lakes region dumped snow in the Midwest and led to the cancellation of more than 1,400 flights Sunday in Chicago.


California drought: Project to retrofit one of Bay Area’s largest dams doubles in cost, faces long delays

Reflecting problems at other aging reservoirs, a $200 million project to drain and repair one of the Bay Area’s largest dams to reduce the risk of it collapsing in a major earthquake will double in cost and be delayed by at least two more years.

Managers at the Santa Clara Valley Water District, based in San Jose, had hoped to start construction in early 2018 on the seismic upgrade work at Anderson Dam, a 240-foot-high earthen dam that sits east of Highway 101 between San Jose and Morgan Hill.