Timelapse Shows California’s Giant ‘Ghost Lake’ Completely Disappear

In a mesmerizing turn of events, Tulare Lake, known as California’s ghost lake, re-emerged last year only to fade away once again, as captured in a recent time-lapse video that’s captivating social media users.

The lake, once the largest freshwater body west of the Great Lakes, vanished 80 years ago due to water diversion and agricultural development. In years of exceptional precipitation, the lake can emerge from its slumber, causing significant issues for California’s farming community.

The lake in the San Joaquin Valley received new life as a result of last year’s exceptionally wet winter, which featured numerous atmospheric rivers. This phenomenon drew widespread attention as Tulare Lake swelled to sizes reminiscent of its historic grandeur, nearly matching Lake Tahoe’s expanse at its peak.

The timelapse video that Colin McCarthy shared below shows the lake’s resurgence in March 2023 and its gradual recession over the summer, which lasted until early February of this year:

Despite California’s wet winter this year, local and state efforts to improve infrastructure have been implemented to mitigate the potential for a similar reformation of Tulare Lake. These improvements aim to better manage the runoff from the Sierra Nevada snowpack and local dams.

Kings County, adjacent to the lake, experienced significant flooding last year, with over 10% of the county submerged at one point. However, the region has received 5.97 inches of rain since the start of the current water year in October 2023, indicating a decrease from the previous year’s 15 inches of rainfall.

Active NorCal

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