For the last three years, California houseboaters have had less than optimal water conditions. Boats have been dwarfed by the steep banks created with low levels and many people have been forced to move their boats as the water dries up. This historic drought has been bad but there is good news on the horizon. A drenching storm has come raging in from Hawaii and has delivered some desperately needed water.
Shasta Lake has reported insane numbers over the last 24-hour period. The lake has risen 9.93 feet and added 125,811 acre feet of water. As they said on their Facebook page, this much water is equivalent to 40,995,693,882 gallons, which is almost 41-billon gallons.
This additional water is enough to last 2.5 million Californians a year. It would fill half a million football fields’ one-foot deep with standing water.
Obviously, one storm will not end a drought as brutal as this one. But this storm has accomplished one thing. It has soaked the dry ground across Northern California so much that rainfall is filling up the state's dangerously low reservoirs, which is a really good start to ending the drought. Shasta Lake had been sitting at 26 percent full after this three-year extreme dry spell. After this storm, Shasta will be 34 percent full. If rainfall can continue like this through the beginning of the year, good things will abound for west-coast houseboats.
A storm of this size can mean long work days for marina workers. As of now, all marinas and lake-side businesses have pulled through without any major incidents or big losses. Most have been pulling 24-hour shifts with their amazing maintenance crews to keep all private moorages and rental boats safe. The marina employees are working as fast as they can to secure dock systems with the quickly rising waters. This has been hailed a “perfect storm” as it’s bringing enough water to fill the reservoirs, yet not enough to bring life-threatening mudslides and floods.
The rain has started to die down but local meteorologists are reporting more precipitation next week. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the houseboating community in Northern California.