California Braces for ‘The Big Melt’

A heat wave is coming to parts of the Golden State this week. Climate scientists warn it could cause massive flooding, as record snowfall melts along the rivers in the southern Sierra Nevada.

UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain told KQED he expects the Tulare Lake basin “to fill up like a bathtub.”

Flooding is also expected on the Merced River up to Yosemite Valley. 

The statewide snowpack was 256% of average as of Monday. In the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, average snow water equivalent was 322%.

By Thursday, temperatures in the Sierra Nevada are expected to break 80° for the first time this year. Temps will rise to 95° by Friday in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Flooding is expected to be in full swing by the weekend. According to Swain, because of all that snow, it’s going “to be a very prolonged event.”

Read more at SFist.