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Dry spell pushes boats out of Folsom Lake ahead of schedule – and on a cool day

Boats prepare to exit the water at Folsom Lake Marina in 2007. This year, the minimum elevation that allows boats on the water at Folsom Lake has been reached significantly earlier than usual, and they are required to be off the lake by the end of Sunday, June 21.
Boats prepare to exit the water at Folsom Lake Marina in 2007. This year, the minimum elevation that allows boats on the water at Folsom Lake has been reached significantly earlier than usual, and they are required to be off the lake by the end of Sunday, June 21. rpench@sacbee.com

Though Sunday was expected to feature the most pleasant conditions in the middle of a stretch of hot weather, it marked the end of boating season on Folsom Lake.

On a day when the high temperature in Sacramento did not exceed the mid-80s, the falling water elevation on the lake approached the minimum required for boats. By the end of the day, boat owners at the Folsom Lake Marina were to have pulled their boats from the lake, almost two months ahead of when those extractions were originally predicted.

The water level at Folsom Lake falls every year, but the ongoing drought has accelerated the process, resulting in an elevation drop the marina reports on its web site as being two-thirds of a foot per day. Boaters are required to pull their craft out of the lake when the surface elevation falls to roughly 412 feet, normally around Labor Day, Folsom Lake Marina representatives say. Once the elevation drops to 400 feet, the posted speed limit on the lake drops to 5 mph.

Dennis Weber of the California State Parks Department said in an email on Monday that though the marina required boats to be pulled from the lake, the 5 mph limit won't be put in place for awhile.

"We are uncertain exactly when we will reach 400 feet as that is controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation which operates Folsom Dam," Weber wrote.

Boaters doing their extractions had a fair day for the task, with the predicted high the lowest of the last several days and lower than forecast for the upcoming week.

The cooler weather will not stick around, however, and high temperatures are likely to spike to the upper-90s and low 100s this week, the NWS predicts.

Here’s the forecast for the rest of the week:

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 90. South wind 5 to 8 mph becoming west-southwest in the afternoon.

Monday night: Clear, with a low around 56. West-southwest wind around 7 mph becoming south in the evening.

Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 95. South wind around 6 mph becoming west-northwest in the morning.

Tuesday night: Clear, with a low around 57.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 92.

Wednesday night: Clear, with a low around 61.

Thursday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 101.

Thursday night: Clear, with a low around 64.

Friday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 99.

Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 64.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the lake's speed limit is lowered when elevation his 412 feet. That is the elevation by which the marina required boats to be extracted from the lake. The speed limit is lowered when the elevation drops to 400 feet.

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