SHASTA – In California’s largest reservoir, January storms led to a large rise in water. The lake is growing fast, and the locals hope for much more.
Back in October, cabin owner Harold Jones gave KPIX a look at lake levels at his place near Lakehead. Although the water actually rose a little compared to the previous year, the lake was only at about 30 percent of its capacity. Still, Jones hoped the change in fortunes could pay off quickly.
“One good winter and the water will pretty much go back up to where these trees are,” Jones said at the time, standing at the edge of his Sugarloaf Cottages property.
Now, in just a few weeks, Shasta has jumped to over 50 percent capacity. And it’s still climbing.
“I have a 75-foot oak tree that came down down there,” Jones said of the storm debris that has piled up since the new year.
Like people all over Northern California, he needs to clean up a bit, but that will wait.
“It’s just an uphill battle,” Jones said of the mess. “So we’ll just wait until the main storms pass and then we’ll clear the place.”
For now, he has other things to worry about.
“If I don’t move that dock today, that end of the bridge will be under water tomorrow,” he said as he approached the water’s edge.
Jones returned KPIX to the same location he visited in late October. Only, no one can actually get there.
“The last time we spoke, we were standing about 100 meters from the shore, straight down,” he said. “In the last 24 hours, from yesterday to today, the lake has risen almost two meters.”
Not far away is the Charlie Creek Bridge at the north end of Shasta. Built in 1925, they had to adapt to the lake so they simply put another bridge on top. This place looks terrible during the drought, it dries up. When the lake is full, the water can easily rise towards the top of the arch of the old bridge, revealing how much room there is still, but the last five months have been a reminder of what is possible.”
“Oh, another part like that, my docks are going to be right here in front of my cabins,” Jones said of the lake rush.
“It was fortunate that the reservoir was pretty low when the previous storm hit,” explained Jay Lund/ of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, “And we still have two and a half months of the rainy season that we still have to really worry about flood management. .”
The lake has jumped 50 feet since the New Year, great news precisely because there was room for it.
“If we get another series of events like this,” Lund added. “Because Shasta and Oroville are full and Folsom is full, it could be a little more difficult on the main rivers.”
“It’s from the burn scars, just pushing everything down to the lake and moving toward the dam,” Jones said of the trees and debris floating down the river
Even with a break in the rain, Shasta will continue to rise, possibly for weeks.
“The word got out that the lake was up and people started calling,” Hones said of the good news. “Boat reservation, cabin.”
Locals call rain liquid assets and hope for even bigger and better things. The past five weeks, they say, just a good start.
“So we have a really good chance of a full lake this year, Jones said. “Just pray for rain. More rain.”