With temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s in Fresno and outlying communities through Saturday, a flood warning is in effect for rivers, creeks, streams, and low-lying areas in Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford.
High temperatures speed up the pace of the snowmelt, especially when nighttime temperatures no longer dip below freezing.
This week’s temperatures are 15 degrees higher than normal for this time of year, but are expected to cool next week, said NWS meteorologist Bill South.
“We’re going to go from highs in the mid-90s on Saturday to highs in the upper 60s on Tuesday,” South said.
The eastern section of Yosemite Valley will stay shut at least until May 3, and reservations for campgrounds and lodging in the eastern valley are being canceled and refunded, park officials said. Other sections including western Yosemite Valley will remain open.
Near record maximum temperatures in the mid to high 90s are expected to impact the San Joaquin Valley through Saturday, April 29. Here are some heat safety tips to keep in mind over the next few days. pic.twitter.com/qlnsQlhjH0
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) April 27, 2023
Be Alert for Rise in Merced River
South urged visitors to the Yosemite area to stay alert as the Merced River, which runs through the park, is expected to rise as the snow melts. But next week’s forecast is expected to help.
“Next week, when it cools off, there won’t be as much snowmelt nor as much flooding,” South said.
Residents in low-lying areas near the rising rivers in Kings County are placing sandbags on their properties and moving items to higher ground. With cooler weather expected, some have breathed a sigh of relief, said Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon.
“There is no immediate concern, and I believe the cold weather next week is going to really help us out,” Verboon said. “Right now, the anxiety has been reduced and I think we’re looking pretty good.”
Fly along the San Joaquin River, from Millerton Lake to Fresno Slough. Full video at linkhttps://t.co/yolMsR8I22#2023TulareFlood #CaFlood @SJVWater #cawater #cawx #farm #agriculture #TulareLake #SJV #Californiastorm #CAwx #CaliforniaStorm#sjvfloodwatch #bakersfield#sjvwater pic.twitter.com/y1lS1Y4Noo
— Shubo Biswas (@ShuboBiswas) April 28, 2023
California’s state climatologist said earlier this week that the state’s communities won’t likely see imminent flooding from this week’s heat wave as upstream reservoirs can accommodate the inflow of melting snow.
But with so much water coursing through rivers that flow out toward the Pacific Ocean and feed an agricultural basin that has rebirthed Tulare Lake, officials have warned that any levee breeches could cause flooding, regardless of temperatures.
A Flood Watch is in effect for Yosemite National Park from Thursday, April 27th through Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023. Snowmelt flooding is possible in Yosemite National Park. The major roads in Yosemite Valley may become flooded to the point of which they are closed to traffic. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/xSh7I87dep
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) April 25, 2023
The Kings and San Joaquin Rivers remain off limits to recreationists due to swift-moving currents as huge amounts of water are being released from their major dams.
Pine Flat Reservoir is expected to receive three times its capacity in water over the coming months due to the massive snowpack. Residents in Kings County’s Island District have reactivated a crisis network to help each other prepare for potential flooding and the nearby city of Corcoran is adding to the top of a levee to try to keep water out.
Trout Season Opens in the Eastern Sierra
The winter rain and snowstorms were welcomed by California’s parched cities and desperate farmers, who have been grappling with intense drought for several years. But a series of atmospheric rivers flooded farms and covered a large agricultural basin typically used for wheat and tomatoes with the now-reemerged Tulare Lake.
Elsewhere in California, some lakes are still covered with ice. Thousands of anglers are expected to head out this weekend for the eastern Sierra trout season opener but only a handful of lakes will be open due to public safety concerns including fast-moving streams, shore ice, and flooded access roads, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
“Fishing experiences this year are likely to be different,” the agency said in a statement.
(GV Wire contributed to this story.)