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Storms transform drought-thirsty California

It’s no secret California has suffered from a historic drought that has affected many of the state’s largest lakes and waterways.

However, recent storms and the precipitation they left have underscored just how significant an impact the drought has had on the thirsty state.

Here in Sacramento, Folsom Lake’s water level saw a drastic transformation, increasing to more than 560,000 acre-feet from lower than 200,000 AF in 2015.

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Folsom Lake rises 13+ feet

Folsom Lake continues to rise with the weekend’s rains, despite water managers releasing even more water downstream.


Folsom Lake stands at 422 feet.
The lake is up 13 feet since Sunday.
Releases at Nimbus Dam have doubled.
As of 5 a.m. Monday, Folsom Lake’s water level stood at 422 feet elevation, which is 13.5 feet higher than it was 5 hours earlier.

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Folsom Lake rises as downstream releases to increase

Folsom Lake’s water level continues to rise as water releases are scheduled Thursday to increase downstream flows on the American River.

Between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, the lake rose roughly five feet.

The amount of water flowing into the lake after days of rain and snow has surpassed 30,000 cubic feet per second. That is the greatest amount of water flowing into the lake since mid-December.

Meanwhile, the outflow, as of 6:30 a.m., stood at 4,622 cubic feet per second.

The lake level stood at 408 feet Thursday morning and was at 44 percent capacity. That’s compared to the same time last year when Folsom Lake stood at just 25 percent capacity.

Nimbus Dam operators are scheduled to almost quadruple the amount of water passing through the dam gates Thursday morning.

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Fishermen Get Trapped On Island Below Nimbus Dam After Gates Open

Four fishermen were stranded after the gates of Nimbus Dam opened and increased the water flow around the island they were on.

The incident happened late Tuesday morning just below the Nimbus Dam on the American River.

Sacramento Metro Fire says some fisherman were on an island just below the dam gates. The gates were getting ready to open and when they did, the water flow increased to the point that the fishermen couldn’t make it back across.

A crew was launched to rescue the fishermen and bring them back safely. No one was injured.

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Folsom Lake rises 15 feet after weekend rains

Runoff from the rainy weekend continues to spill into Northern California reservoirs — in some cases doubling the water stored in area lakes.

Folsom Lake picked up more than 100,000 acre-feet of water between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

The lake also increased by more than a tenth of its capacity during the same 24-hour period.

The surge in water flowing from the north and south forks of the American River caused the lake’s level to rise more than 12 feet during that time.

But by Monday morning, Folsom Lake was 15 feet higher than it was Friday afternoon and 127 percent of normal capacity for this time of year.

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Folsom Lake Level Far Ahead of Last Year

Folsom Lake level continues to rise.

Per the California Department of Water Resources, as of November 27, the lake stands at approximately 447,000 acre feet, about 3 times as much as last year at this time.

Although it is still 5% below the average for this time of year, note that usually we’re still losing water, with levels decreasing through late December. This year, the level has been growing since mid-October.

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Campfire restrictions for state’s national forests

At the peak of the summer-vacation camping season, restrictions on campfires go into effect Monday across Tahoe National Forest and much of California’s 20 million acres of national forests. Campfires will be restricted to existing campfire rings at approved campgrounds, with a campfire permit from a U.S. Forest Service district office also needed.

The new era of camping stoves takes much of the bite out of the issue for campers, as campfires are being used more for their ambience and to roast marshmallows or heat up s’mores than for cooking meals.

This year’s wildfires in California have been mostly in Southern California.

In central and northern California, the Trailhead Fire in Eldorado National Forest burned 5,646 acres near Volcanoville, which shut down a rafting put-in for the week at the Middle Fork of the American River. Firefighters held the fire to a staked-out perimeter, and as of Sunday, had it 90 percent contained.

The cause of that fire is under investigation.

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Rescue crews recover teen’s body from American River

Rescue crews have recovered the body of a teenage boy who went underwater in the American River around Auburn.

The Sacramento Bee reports ( that the body was recovered shortly after 10:15 a.m. Sunday. Supervising Ranger Scott Liske says the boy was found about 100 yards downstream from where he went in on Saturday.

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