U.S.California’s punishing rain creates rare spectacle Cbsnews,CBS News Wed, Feb 22 9:06 PM PST First the rain, now the drain. California’s punishing rain this month has flooded neighborhoods and triggered evacuations. It has also pushed Lake Berryessa in Napa County way beyond capacity, pouring water into its bathtub-like drain. It’s the first time that’s happened in 11 years, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.“Back in October, we were essentially half-full,” said Roland Sanford, general manager of the Solano County Water Agency. “This is the first time that the lake has been so low, and filled-up and spilled in one year.”EVAN KILKAN What looks calm at the top of the “Morning Glory Spillway” looks like a raging torrent at the bottom.The spillway is located 200 feet from the Monticello Dam. It is shaped like a funnel, 72-feet wide at its lip and narrowing to 28 feet at an outlet down at the Putah Creek. When water in the lake rises to more than 440 feet above sea level, it spills over the lip of a funnel and pours into the creek 700 feet below. When the reservoir reaches capacity, this spillway can take in about 48,000 cubic feet of water per second. That’s the equivalent of draining half of an Olympic sized pool in one second.The drain during California’s drought was so dry that it became an unofficial skateboard park. But water started trickling in on Friday. Now it’s become a bit of a tourist destination. You might say, a hole-y pilgrimage.The spillway could keep flowing for the next couple of months. © 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
U.S.Lake Oroville water level on the decline; Brown makes unannounced visit
MercuryNews.com 23 hours ago Oroville – Lake Oroville has survived its first weather challenge since the emergency spillway crisis, and is on the way back down. The lake water level peaked just under the 853-foot elevation about 4 a.m. Wednesday and had declined about half a foot by 5 p.m. Inflow at that time was about 47,000 cubic-feet per second. Inflow all day has been below the 60,000 cfs that was being released from the dam.The dam also got an unannounced visit by Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday, even though he had earlier said he didn’t see a reason to, “hover in and mug for the media.”MEETING THE CHALLENGE DWR lowered the lake to under the 850-foot elevation following the emergency spillway crisis Feb. 12, with the intention of making room for runoff from the series of storms that hit the area Thursday through Wednesday.Those storms produced substantial amounts of rain in the hills above the lake, with just over 10 inches falling at Brush Creek, according to DWR.However the runoff into the lake didn’t get any higher than 93,000 cfs, which happened about 10 a.m. Monday.Inflows before the Feb. 12 emergency had topped 190,000 cfs.That flow pushed the lake level above the 901-foot-elevation top of the emergency spillway weir. When the slope below the weir began to erode rapidly, potentially threatening collapse of the concrete structure, evacuation of more than 180,000 people were ordered.The evacuation orders were lifted Feb. 14, but evacuation warnings remain in effect, meaning people should be ready to leave their homes in short notice.Water continues to run down the damaged main spillway. Below the break in the concrete chute that appeared Feb. 7, most of the flow appears to be using a new channel the runoff has carved north of the structure.WHAT’S NEXTThe National Weather Service is predicting a new storm will arrive in the area Saturday night and linger into Monday.That will be a cold storm, with snow levels as low as 2,500 to 3,500 feet. In excess of 3 feet of snow is forecast in the mountains above the lake. Rainfall amounts on the valley floor are expected to be in the 1-2 inch range, with 2-3 inches in the foothills.
Forbes 18 hours ago California is an energy policy bully. Using market share and political willpower, global warming-fearing Golden State politicians are reshaping the electric market far beyond their 39 million constituents to 46 million others living in 13 states, Western Canada and portions of Mexico.As with most things connected to California’s progressive politics, the bad unintended consequences of this effort to create a brave new energy market will outweigh the good intentions.The first high-profile victim of California’s energy policies could well be 755 mostly Navajo workers at the large, coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona and the Kayenta Coal Mine 100 miles to the east that supplies it.Climate-change concerns have been the main driver of California’s energy policies since 2006. That year saw then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sign two bills, AB 32 and SB 1368, which radically remade California’s electric markets. In turn, these policies are disrupting the power grid from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada to Baja California and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, an area serving more than 85 million people.AB 32, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, aims to reduce California’s carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.SB 1368, the lesser known of the two bills, packs the bigger regional punch. Its author, former California State Senator Don Perata, explained the purpose of his bill in March 2007 before U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and its then-Chairman, former Sen. Barbara Boxer,“First, California can serve as a model for federal efforts to combat global warming and its impacts. Last year we passed (a law) prohibiting utilities from entering into long-term contracts for power produced by dirty coal-burning plants… California enacted SB 1368 to send a strong signal to the western energy markets. Our energy must be clean – we won’t buy power from coal plants spewing greenhouse gases by the ton.”Were California self-sufficient in electrical generation, the negative effects of its policies would largely be contained within its borders. However, that is not the case, making Sen. Perata’s coal power ban a very real problem.California dominates the Western Interconnection, the name for the electric grid in America’s West, using about a 34% of the power consumed among the 11 states wholly or mostly (Montana and New Mexico) in the grid. More importantly, California is the biggest electric importer in the nation, with about 32% of the electricity it uses coming from eight states and Canada.The biggest Western power exporters in recent years are Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Utah and New Mexico. The plurality of the power exported to California comes from coal. Occasionally, as much as half of the power consumed in Southern California comes from coal-fired plants in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
Stephanie Hallett,Hello Giggles 15 hours ago If you were getting into your car late at night and saw a shirt wrapped around your windshield wiper blade, what would you do? It happened to one Flint, Michigan teenager, who immediately drove away — but her warning to others about the incident has quickly gone viral.Ashley Hardacre, 19, wrote on Facebook earlier this month that after leaving her mall job late one night and getting into her car, she noticed a flannel shirt on her windshield. She tried to get it off with her wipers, but it was wrapped tightly around one of the blades. Sensing something was wrong — and seeing two cars parked nearby, one that was running — she says she drove away with the shirt still attached to her car.View image on Twitter