WEATHER WATCH: Summer blasted its way into the Northern Hemisphere on Tuesday, June 20, at 9:24 p.m. (PDT). As of Sunday, this heatwave will break a record because it will be the longest stretch of 100-degree days ever in June. Last Sunday’s thunderstorms wreaked some havoc, and there is a possibility of more of the same on Saturday. Relief is in sight after Monday, that is, if temperatures in the high 90s can be called relief.
The extended run of triple digits that began last weekend will hang around through Sunday, marking 10 consecutive days of temperatures at or above 100 degrees F. Temperatures will moderate closer to normal for this time of year beginning Tuesday.
The spate of excessive high temperatures that topped out at 108 degrees made a sizable dent in the Sierra snowpack. According to most water watchers, there is still plenty of high-elevation snow yet to come down as the flows on the Middle Fork have increased nightly during the current heatwave.
In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, June 22, the flows reached a seasonal high of 3,900 cubic feet per second (cfs). No one knows for certain when the Kaweah River will peak but it is probable that it will occur sometime this weekend.
The river will drop considerably as the temperatures drop back into the 90s next week, and that will extend the local whitewater season. The current whitewater rafting season is proving to be the busiest season since commercial rafting was first permitted in the mid 1990s.
Lake Kaweah is also gradually rising and, as of Thursday, June 22, the lake level reached an elevation of 707.64 feet above sea level; storage was at 170,102 acre feet. The mean inflow was 3,607 cfs; outflow was 2,391 cfs, which means the lake is rising.
Dam-tenders are not expecting the lake to fill to its capacity of 185,500 acre feet although the lake level has risen five feet in the past week. As the heatwave dissipates, so will the flows into the basin, and the lake level will once again begin to drop gradually.