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The state of California in the United States is widely known for its permanently sunny weather and blistering temperatures. However, a spate of freak weather conditions has turned this stereotype on its head and the golden state has been looking especially gray and grisly in the past month.
The bizarre spell of torrential rainfall has caused the water levels in the vast Napa County reservoir to rise to heights that have not been witnessed in decades. The records levels of accumulated water have also led to a highly unusual development – the triggering of the amazing underwater spillway known locally as the ‘glory hole.’
Fascinating ‘glory hole’ opens up in California
Reservoir water overspills are not a common occurrence in the state of California. As recently as last year, the state experienced such significant droughts that the Lake Berryessa reservoir, which spans a remarkable 1.6 million acres, actually ran dry. This is certainly not the case after the highly unusual torrential downpours experienced in the region during the past month.
The Solano County Water Agency has reported that the levels of water contained in the reservoir have risen by approximately 40 feet (12 meters) in the space of only fifty days. The reservoir has now accumulated 443.5 feet of water which are reported to be its highest level in the past eleven years.
But just because the overspill of the reservoir is a very rare occurrence doesn’t mean that the engineers who designed the vast structure were unprepared for it to happen. The reservoir has a very unusual feature – an underground water spillway that sucks up accumulated water and passes it to a waterway located deep beneath the Earth. Owing to the normally hot conditions in California, the use of the ‘glory hole’ is a fairly unusual event. The last time it was used was 2006.
The ‘glory hole’ has proved itself to be very popular with the press and the local people who have been traveling to see the extraordinary vortex of water and have been sharing pictures of the phenomenon online. However, given the rather naughty connotations of the local name for the engineering feature local news broadcasters have been advising them not to hashtag their images and videos with the name ‘glory hole’ suggesting that they might use the less problematic ‘Lake Berryessa’ hashtag instead.