Lake Powell rises nearly 20 feet thanks to historic Colorado snowfall

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BULLFROG, Utah — Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation area continues to benefit from Colorado’s record snowfall.

The more than two dozen reservoirs that feed Powell are at 92% capacity and the lake is up more than 19.26 feet from last year, according to the park.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a baby, so for 19 years. It’s scary when the lake is low,” Parker resident Ryan Kennedy said.

The Kennedys make a yearly trek to Powell with cousins, and over the course of the last 50 years, they have seen dramatic drops in the water levels.

“Last year, the lake was so low, you could see all the zebra mussels on the shore. This year, it’s cleaner water and more water to play in, so good to see,” Kennedy said.

After Colorado’s major snowfall, the lake started rising in April and is slowly starting to level off. When the lake was high in 1999, minerals in the water turned the red sandstone white, creating the white ring around the rock.

FOX31’s problem solvers found water levels rising so quickly — two inches a day last month — rangers are warning boaters to check their anchors and slack lines. Park officials are also advising boaters to watch for entire trees and large pieces of wood drifting through the channel.

Lake Powell begins to level off after dramatic rise in water levels

The rising shoreline can also catch visitors off guard who park too close to the shore. Rangers warn if drivers leave their vehicles for days on the edge of the water, they could return to submerged vehicles.

The National Park Service warned in June water levels were rising six to 15 inches in a 24-hour period. In July, the flow had slowed to two inches a day.

Depending on the grade of land, a foot of water rising vertically will cover approximately 30 to 50 feet of land horizontally.

Last winter, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming recorded above-average snowfall, feeding the rivers and reservoirs.

Powell is the nation’s second-largest water reserve in the country and spreads across the Utah-Arizona border. There are currently 4,537,812,213,877 gallons of water in the reservoir, according to the Lake Powell water database.

For more information on water levels at Colorado’s state parks is available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

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