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Thousands of pounds of water released from Folsom, Nimbus dams

The Bureau of Reclamation released 10,000 cubic feet of water from Folsom and Nimbus dams into the lower American River, Friday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When it comes to flooding, fighting water with water is sometimes what it takes to keep you safe. The Bureau of Reclamation released water from two local dams so our rivers and levees aren't overwhelmed from all the weekend rain.

The bureau released 10,000 cubic feet of water from Folsom and Nimbus dams into the lower American River, Friday. 

"One cubic foot of water is approximately the size of a basketball. So if you can imagine 10,000 basketballs coming down, whatever channel it is, that's kind of what's happening right now,” said Richard Preston-LeMay, Folsom sector California State Park superintendent.

While this process helps rivers and levees prepare for more storms rolling in, state parks experts warn residents to be very careful the next several days when visiting Lake Natoma and parts of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

“[There is] risk for people being swept away from the shoreline… then also for hypothermia, if somebody gets into the water,” said Preston-LeMay. “The water is originating from the Sierra Nevada so it's much much colder than people might imagine.”

The American River Parkway is meant to flood though boating is rare this time of year. Additional risks also come from fire season.

"For boaters, they're going to encounter more floating debris or submerged debris as we start to see some of the runoff coming down from that, from the mountains above,” said Preston-LeMay. “Particularly with some of the fires that we've had, we expect we're going to see an increase in that debris from those fire scars."

Several access points to the American River were closed Friday until further notice, including Discovery Park, Howe and Watt Avenue access points, parts along Dry Creek, the Cherry Island Sports park and the Dry Creek Ranch House access and parking lot. 

WATCH MORE: Storm Watch: The heaviest rain of this system arrives Saturday morning

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