California lake gets drought respite from El Niño

El Niño is helping California’s Folsom Lake survive the worst drought on record.
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Docks are shown sitting on parched ground at California’s Folsom Lake. El Niño season rains have been responsible for a dramatic rise in the lake’s water level during the past month.

Docks are shown sitting on parched ground at California’s Folsom Lake. El Niño season rains have been responsible for a dramatic rise in the lake’s water level during the past month.

El Niño has not brought favorable weather to all parts of the country, but it is helping California’s Folsom Lake survive the worst drought on record.

The lake has risen 44 feet in slightly more than a month and Lake Oroville, the second-largest water storage facility in the state, rose another 20 feet, thanks to El Niño season rains.

Early December saw Folsom Lake dwindle to the hydrological equivalent of a mud puddle, according to an article in Esquire magazine. It reached its lowest levels since the dam of about 349 feet above sea level was built to fill it up.

The worst year previously was 1976 to 1977, but in the fall of 1977 Folsom Lake began to fill up again, following a trajectory that looks similar to what is happening today.

The water level was on track to flatline, similar to 1976 to 1977, in past years. Now it is getting a much desired rocket-like rise instead.

Last year, boats were forced out of the lake early as water levels fell by two-thirds of a foot each day.

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