Warm California temperatures expected to accelerate snowmelt

California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, accompanied by DWR's Wes McCandless, cross a snow covered meadow while conducting the manual snow survey at Phillips Station, Monday, May 1, 2017, near Echo Summit, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — Melting of this year’s massive Sierra Nevada snowpack will cause California rivers to surge and possibly overflow their banks well into the summer this year, officials said Monday.

Among the first to be affected will be the Merced River running through Yosemite National Park, which is expected to hit flood stage by mid-week with waters rising a foot above its banks, forecasters warned.

Large amounts of water are being released from reservoirs downstream from the Sierra Nevada to lower their levels in anticipation of the heavier-than-normal melt off of snowpack, which is nearly double its normal size.

Reservoirs on tributaries of the San Joaquin River have been lowered and authorities will continue lowering their levels through June to avoid the possibility of using spillways for emergency water releases, reservoir managers said.



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