High temperatures increase Sierra snowmelt, raises flooding concerns near Kings River

KINGSBURG, Calif. (KFSN) -- The sudden heat spell means more snow is melting and running into Pine Flat Lake.

The 22-mile long waterway is rising one foot a day, and as a result, more water is being released into the river.

"Yesterday and into today when you start to see those high 90's and 100's is when you see those temperatures hit the high Sierra's which is our high snowpack," said Army Corps engineer Jake Vesner. "That really starts to impact the inflow numbers."

About 14,000 cubic feet per second of water is flowing in and about 11,000 cubic feet per second are going out.

It's been enough to cause minor flooding in the Kingsburg area. The Kingsburg Country Club sees some small problems so far, but the golfing goes on.

"We've had to move our golf carts out of our shed and move them to higher ground," said Steve Safarjian. "Our parking lot and golf cart shed are the only things being affected now."

The high water has impacted an RV park and flooded some yards, but the hope is the water surge may soon taper off.

"There's no real change anticipated," said Randy McFarland with the Kings River Water Association. "However, the Corps of Engineers is keeping a real close eye on things because right now we think we are very close to the peak runoff in the Sierra from the snowmelt."

But, it's too soon to say the water won't get higher, so officials at the country club they are keeping a close watch on the river.

"We are monitoring our banks every two or three hours for gopher holes, squirrel holes, things that might cause it to erode," Safarjian.

The water is expected to get higher; it all depends on how warm it gets in the high country and how fast the snow melts.
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