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Will the Big Melt Arrive This Weekend as Temps Hit the 80s?



UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain predicts that warming temperatures will trigger the "big melt" this weekend in the Central Valley. (Shutterstock)
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With the spring sun warming the entirety of California, UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain predicted Thursday that the “big melt” will arrive this weekend.

“Flows on many rivers draining the central/southern Sierra will double or triple (with locally greater increases) as temperatures rise. Some rivers will exceed flood stage, & Tulare Basin flooding will worsen,” Swain tweeted.

Indeed, Valley residents near re-emerging Tulare Lake, as well as those living near the Kings, Tule, Kern, Merced, and San Joaquin rivers, are keeping a close eye on the water line. Some of them have already suffered the consequences of March flooding.

But a forecast issued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers hope that the melt of California’s historic snowpack will be gradual. If it is, not only would communities be spared from harm, but water supplies could carry over to 2024.

NOAA said that May temperatures in much of California are likely to be cooler than normal, and June-July temps are expected to be in line with historical norms.

In addition, Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist at UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, told The New York Times: “The picture is relatively optimistic compared to what it could be. We’re not seeing any very warm periods that would cause concern to us yet. And the hope is that when we do see those — or if we do see those — that they will be later in the season, when the snowpack isn’t quite as large.”

Picture Perfect Fresno Forecast

Flood risks aside, the weekend forecast for Fresno and surrounding communities is postcard perfect.

The National Weather Service in Hanford predicts mostly sunny skies with a high of 83 on Saturday and Sunday. Lows are expected in the mid-50s.

The warmup will continue next week with predicted highs of 88 on Wednesday and possibly 90 on Thursday.

2022 vs. 2023 Sierra Snowpack Comparison

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email