Updated February 28, The massive Morning Glory Spillway in the Lake Berryessa reservoir in northern California was originally designed to funnel away water after unusually big storms, and was only expected to flow a couple of times per century when heavy rains filled the lake to capacity. But recent dramatic video and photographs show the circular spillway, known by locals more colourfully as the "glory hole", flowing for the second time in two years, after the brimming lake became too big for its banks. The compelling sight of the metre-wide, metre-long drain in full flow after record recent rains in the area is also reportedly inspiring locals to wax lyrical about what it reminds them of when the water's really pouring through it.
California's 'glory hole' activated after weeks of heavy rain at Lake Berryessa reservoir
Lone duck sucked into giant 'Glory Hole' in California - INSIDER
The moment a lone duck was sucked into a foot-deep drain at a reservoir in northern California , and reportedly survived, has been captured on video. Known locally as the "Glory Hole," the giant spillway is designed to capture excess water at Lake Berryessa reservoir in Napa County. Rick Fowler, the lake's water-resources manager, filmed the bird as it drifted toward the fast-swirling vortex and dropped down into the hole. The viral video sparked a debate about the fate of the bird, with some experts predicting it must have died, but Mr. Fowler said he saw it survive the foot fall.
California's epic 'Glory Hole' awakens after major downpour (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
At 22 meters in diameter, the hole sucks in water from the dam to prevent flooding at a rate of 1, cubic meters per second when it reaches capacity, according to Atlas Obscura. The water is carried through a large concrete pipe and emptied about meters away. The hole has been cordoned off for safety reasons since when a woman was pulled in and drowned. During the dry season, when the exit of the spillway is visible, skateboarders have been known to use it as a ramp — although this isn't recommended. Otherwise, boats and swimmers cannot get too close.
Lake Berryessa is currently the seventh largest man-made lake in California. Water from the reservoir primarily supplies agriculture in the Sacramento Valley downstream. The dam is noted for its classic, uncontrolled morning-glory-type spillway.