High water levels prompt closure of American River Parkway access points

As runoff gushes into Folsom and Shasta lakes, officials have increased flows down the American and Sacramento rivers, prompting safety warnings for those using the waterways for recreation.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the amount of water from Folsom Dam was at 70,000 cubic feet of water per second, according to the bureau. That’s the highest rate of water released this season, based on state data.

High river levels prompted the closure Thursday of all American River Parkway vehicle access points, according to county spokeswoman Kim Nava. Pedestrian access points will close Friday as well, and it remains to be seen when they will reopen.

“People recreating in or along the lower American River downstream of Folsom Dam to the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions,” the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a news release.

In about two days, Folsom lake level has climbed 230,000 acre feet. Folsom Lake, with a capacity of 977,000 acre feet, was around 696,000 acre feet Thursday morning.

A strong storm on Thursday was expected to drop an inch or two of rain in Sacramento and perhaps four inches in the foothills. The warm nature of the storm has resulted in heavy runoff from the Sierra.

While 70,000 cfs was going out of Folsom Lake on Thursday, 114,000 was flowing into the reservoir.

The American River is expected to reach depths of 37.6 feet at the H Street Bridge – the highest it has been since the floods of 1997. It will remain about four feet below flood stage.

Several access points along the swollen American River are closed. Discovery Park is flooded.

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