BAZETTA - While the near-constant rain pushed in by Hurricane Sandy has started to refill area reservoirs, for some it is a case of too little, too late.
Bob Craig said he usually takes his boat out on Mosquito Creek Reservoir a couple of times a year. Not this year.
"I was afraid to put it in (the water)," said Craig, 71, of Bazetta. The last time he took his small boat out, it was bumping off stumps that normally are well below the water level, he said.
Tribune Chronicle / Bonnie L. Hazen
Bob Craig looks out over the Mosquito Lake State Park marina last week. The Bazetta man hopes the recent rains will make boating a little less perilous next year. When the reservoir is at a normal level, the docks are level with the ground.
"We were lucky we weren't going fast," he said.
Drought-like conditions left water levels in area reservoirs extremely low this year. Mosquito has been about 4 feet below the normal summer pool. Milton is at 942.80, about five feet below normal; and Berlin at 1,017 is about six feet shy of its normal depth.
But the drought-like conditions are being offset by more than four inches of rain since a week ago Friday, according to Dianne Kolodziejski, resource manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We're making progress," she said, but still have a long way to go.
Every inch of rain is equivalent to a foot of snow, and even after the heavy precipitation from Hurricane Sandy, the water level has only come up a foot and a half, she said.
There are other variables to consider, including ground saturation, soil quality and even cloud coverage.
"Sunny does make a difference," Kolodziejski said.
Kolodziejski said the lowest level was Oct. 14 at 895.26 feet above sea level, compared with the full level of 900.73 feet.
Despite the lack of water, there haven't been any big issues with boaters, although boating attendance at Mosquito has been down, especially with larger boats, Mosquito Lake State Park assistant manager Jackie King said.
"This is the lowest it's been in many, many years," she said. "This was a big fluctuation due to the lack of rain."
Fluctuation is a normal occurrence at Mosquito, but not normally to this extreme, King said. The level is usually down about a foot and a half.
Whether the level will come up enough for boaters to enjoy their sport next season is mainly up to rain and snowfall.
"We're looking for more rain. Right now, we are striving for our normal winter pool," Kolodziejski said, which is 899.23 - leaving the current level 2 1/2 feet shy of that mark.
Craig said he is doubtful the level will rise significantly unless the area is hit with a couple of big snow storms.
"It's all up to Mother Nature," King said, her fingers crossed.