Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The effects of a big snow pack

What happens when a record setting snow pack melts? First it floods everything. Then it fills all the lakes, reservoirs, and ditches. Here is an astounding graph of the Lake Powell water level.

Lake Powell is down in southern Utah and catches a lot of the drainage from west of the Rockies.  Since April, the water level has risen over 50 feet!  They warn you to be careful if you are parking your car near the lake to go on a boat trip.  Come back in a few days and your car may be under water.

How much water does it take to make such a huge change?  So far this year the lake has received over 14 million acre-feet of water.  As you might guess, one acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre, one foot deep.  Duh. 

For my friends in NC, this amount of water would add about 1200 feet of depth to Falls Lake, if you could somehow contain it to its normal footprint.  I think that might be a problem.
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