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February 2017 storms, effects on lakes

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by Kellen, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Today's storm snuck up on the meteorologists I guess and is dumping some significant rain on San Diego County. Unlike the other storms this year, San Diego is getting the bulk of it as opposed to LA and Orange County.

    These are 12 hour rainfall totals current as of about 3 PM.

    C5tCLUFWgAA52sJ.jpg
     
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  2. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    I'm going to be referencing "cfs" a lot in this thread to describe the flow rate of the creeks that feed the reservoirs. It stands for cubic feet per second. 1 cfs is equal to about 7.5 gallons.

    We measure the lakes in "acre feet (AF)". That's a volume measurement that equates to covering 1 acre in a foot of water. An acre is roughly the same size as a football field. So picture 1 af as covering 1 football field in a foot of water.


    There are 43,560 cubic feet in 1 acre foot.

    Water is money, so worth noting that an acre foot of water costs the water departments about $1,200 right now.

    If a creek is discharging 1,000 cfs on average over the course of an hour, that's 82.64 acre feet of water, or $99,168 worth of free water.


    The creeks are starting to run again. Santa Ysabel Creek, at its automated reporting station just north of Ramona, which lies within the Lake Hodges watershed just got cranking with a 1,140 cfs discharge. To put it in perspective, when Hodges spilled in 1995, this reporting station peaked at 8,000 cfs.

    This chart shows the discharge rate in that creek over the last 38 days, which spans both of these major rain events. The storms in January got the creek flowing about 2,600 cfs max. So we'll see what this afternoon's rains can do to it.

    USGS.11025500.14031.00060..20170120.20170227.log.0.p50.png
     
    #2 Kellen, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  3. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Here are some baseline numbers from this morning's readings of the city of San Diego reservoirs so we have something to look back on to measure today's rainfall.


    Monday, February 27, 2016:
    Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 5.06.51 PM.png

    And then to get you really excited, these are the numbers (current depth/gauge) as of January 9th.

    Barrett: 74.86'
    El Capitan: 112.44'
    Hodges: 94.3'

    Miramar: 105.5'
    Morena: 76.3'
    Murray: 91.2'
    Lower Otay: 128.12'
    San Vicente: 264.63'
    Sutherland: 61.19'

    In bold are the lakes that rely heavily on runoff from their watersheds. Barrett, Morena, and Sutherland only get water from what falls from the sky.
     
  4. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Here is the chart from Jamul Creek and its reporting station which is basically right at the entry point into Harvey Arm at Lower Otay. This is as of 2:45 PM. As you can see, January's storms saw it peak at over 1,100 cfs, and its currently flowing at 424 cfs.

    jamul-creek.png
     
  5. amsuarez86

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    Killer info, K. Thank you. Where do you source this?
     
  6. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Sweetwater River, at its Descanso reporting station above Loveland Reservoir is currently flowing at 337 cfs. It peaked VERY BRIEFLY at about 900 cfs on January 21st, so briefly that this graph doesn't even recognize that peak for some reason.

    sweetwater-river.png

    This will affect Loveland, which was at 57.8% capacity this morning. Loveland was at 29% capacity on January 17th.

    Sweetwater will also benefit from runoff in this watershed. Sweetwater was at 25.9% capacity this morning, and 12% capacity on January 17th.
     
  7. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    All over, have a couple hundred bookmarks I monitor for this type of info. National Weather Service for the rainfall totals, USGS.gov for the automated streamflow data, obviously @RKMM publishes the city of San Diego gauge readings on the city website.
     
  8. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    A baseline for Lake Henshaw;

    As of this morning, storing 10,001 acre feet of water (19% capacity). It was down to 8% capacity, 3,974 acre feet back in the middle of January.

    henshaw.gif
     
  9. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    6 hour precipitation totals from 9 am to 3 pm.

    san_6HRprecip.png
     
  10. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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  11. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    WOW!!! Santa Ysabel Creek in Ramona now sending 2,430 cfs down toward Lake Hodges. That is about what it peaked at in January, and there is more rain coming.

    santa-ysabel.png
     
  12. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Santa Maria Creek, which flows out of western Ramona and discharges into Santa Ysabel Creek in the San Pasqual Valley (below the reporting station I reference for Santa Ysabel Creek) is ripping at 1,160 cfs right now. That surpasses the peak from the January storms.

    Hodges is going to get some this time around...the valley should already be charged (saturated) so inflow to the reservoir should be good.

    santa-maria.png
     
  13. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    This is a good time to remind everyone that Lake Hodges has a huge 159,360 acre watershed, but traditionally, it isn't very efficient at turning rain into captured water in the reservoir. Historically, 3% of the water that falls within that giant watershed actually ends up running into the lake. The rest is absorbed into the ground. That number should be considerably higher this time around though thanks to previous storms.

    It'll be very interesting to see what kind of yield Hodges gets this week. The first week after the January storms yielded about 6 vertical feet in the lake.
     
  14. fishfanatic

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    Question...You know how you said that when shallow lakes are allowed to fill up beyond a certain level, the evaporation of the lake increases from more exposed surface area to a point where those levels are inefficent? Is the same evaporation-reducing strategy applied to water levels that rise from rainwater? Or does that only serve as the reason why water authorities don't buy water beyond the "evaporation point"?

    I think I made sense ;)
     
  15. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Yes, and the lakes that are most affected by this (Cuyamaca, Morena, Barrett, Sutherland, etc...) only get water from rain anyways.

    The reservoirs are basically a system of capturing and storing water. Lakes like Morena, Barrett, and Sutherland have 1 singular purpose, to capture water that falls from the sky. They then transfer that water that was captured in those reservoirs to other reservoirs that can more efficiently store it, like Lower Otay, Hodges, Olivenhain, San Vicente, Miramar and Murray.

    To give you an idea, let's look at two reservoirs; Morena and San Vicente.

    Morena has a 72,960 acre watershed compared to San Vicente's of 47,360 acres. Morena's watershed has an average annual precipitation of 19.81 inches while San Vicente's, further west, is 15.11 inches. Morena captures an average of 10,986 acre feet of water while San Vicente only captures 6,668 acre feet on average. So Morena is much better at capturing water, its more valuable to the city in that regard, but San Vicente can much more efficiently store it. So they'll use the water in Morena as quick as possible, and stockpile water inventory at San V. Two different roles in the water system.
     
  16. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Santa Ysabel Creek in Ramona is now RIPPING! 3,540 cfs discharge as of 4:45 pm, that's the most water flowing through there since 1995 and 850 cfs more than the peak it reached on January 23rd from that storm.

    santa-ysabel.png

    Here are the historic peak discharges for that station...Hodges spilled over in 1995 and 1980 as a result of those huge inflows. If we see this creek crank up much more, it'll be time to start talking about a historic event for Hodges.

    santa-ysabel-peak.png
     
    #16 Kellen, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  17. SWW

    SWW Well-Known Member

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    Its been solid rain fall all day...keep it coming!

    Had no idea the rainfall was to be of this magnitude. Agree with the projectors possibly being caught off guard on this one.
     
  18. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Santa Maria Creek is now pumping at 1,610 cfs...crushing the 1,010 cfs peak from the January storms. More water headed toward Lake Hodges.

    santa-maria.png
     
  19. fisheromen

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    Explanation I have heard: They thought it was going about 50 miles south of us.
     
  20. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Balancing out a little from all their projections which ended up 50-150 miles north of us the last couple months.

    It's hard to believe they are this stupid, but I'm starting to wonder if they're not thrown off sometimes by the fact that the National Weather Service has their southern California offices in San Diego. So its the NWS San Diego, and they put out the data that all these news stations go off. Sometimes it would appear the NWS San Diego is talking about San Diego, but really they're just producing info for their region which includes a lot of territory north of San Diego, and they don't always specify.

    For instance, the NWS San Diego might release a weather forecast or briefing saying something along the lines of; up to 10" of snow possible overnight in the local mountains. And it sure sounds like they might be talking about San Diego's local mountains, but then when you dig deeper they're referring to places like Big Bear actually.
     
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