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Huge Snowpack Prompts California Officials To Revisit Drought Status

Is California about to formally declare an end to its five-year drought? After abundant winter rainfall and snow accumulation, state officials plan an announcement about California’s “drought status” within the next week, said Doug Carlson, spokesman for the state Department of Water Resources. Exactly when the statement will come is still unknown, as is when and if the State Water Project will increase its current allocation of 60 percent of its 29 member water agencies’ requested supplies, Carlson said.

How The Massive Sierra Nevada Snowpack Will Help Power Homes

In these elevated locations, the prefrontal winds lifted the low-level subtropical moisture over California’s mountain ranges and cooled it approximately 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit for each 1,000 feet of elevation. This process is called the saturated adiabatic lapse rate, which wrings out the moisture from the heavens like squeezing a wet sponge or mop — in other words, orthographic enhancement. Rainfall amounts in the Santa Lucia Mountains have been breathtaking. Rocky Butte has logged 79 inches; typically this station receives about 40 inches a year.

Oroville Dam Documents Kept Secret By State, Federal Officials

Citing potential security risks, state and federal officials are blocking the public’s ability to review documents that could shed light on repair plans and safety issues at crippled Oroville Dam. One of the secret reports is a memo from an independent panel of experts brought in to guide state officials’ repair plans. Another confidential document is labeled a “Project Safety Compliance Report.” The secrecy on the part of state dam operators prompted state Sen. Jim Nielsen to call for an immediate oversight hearing.

Why Oroville Dam’s Woes Could Cut Into California Water Supplies

The fractured spillway at Oroville Dam has forced the state to spend tens of millions of dollars on emergency repairs, with millions more to come. Here’s another potential cost: a slice of California’s water supply. Dam operators are expected to run Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, at lower-than-usual water levels this summer as they wrestle with the complicated and lengthy task of fixing the dam’s broken spillway.

Heavy Snowpack Could Extend Delta Boating Restrictions Through Spring

High river flows have restricted boaters from many areas of the San Joaquin Delta. The large snowpack and runoff that is to follow this spring could keep South and Central Delta sloughs and channels closed to boats until late spring or early summer. The San Joaquin Office of Emergency Services (OES) continues to keep the San Joaquin River closed below Stockton, affecting Discovery Bay in the west with speed restrictions. The entire South Delta is basically shut down to recreational boating.