The rain showers on Saturday, April 25, postponed the morning roping program at Lions Arena and dropped one-third of an inch of precipitation at the 1,000-foot elevation level in Three Rivers. In Sequoia National Park, at about 7,500 feet, the moisture translated to five to six inches of snow.
What remained of the new high-country snow lasted until the waning hours of Tuesday, April 28. By the predawn hours of Wednesday, it had cascaded down the Kaweah River drainage and for a few hours for three consecutive evenings caused a 100 cfs surge in the flows of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
Peak readings of 330 cfs are a drop in the bucket compared to flows of a number of seasons in the past two decades that might routinely eclipse 2,000 cfs for several weeks in May and June. But in the year 2015, marking the fourth consecutive season of drought, any appreciable rainfall in the foothills or snow in the high country is critical.
The total rainfall for the current season in Three Rivers is approximately 10 inches, or one-half of the 20-year average. As of Wednesday, April 29, Lake Kaweah storage was 60,399 acre-feet, or 32 percent of capacity.
The final snow measurements of the season are due on or about May 1. No good news is expected.
On May 1, 2014, the snowpack’s statewide average was four inches, just 18 percent of the historical average on that date. This snow scarcity has serious implications for California’s drought, because much greater than average precipitation must fall as rain and snow for California to exit the drought.
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Enjoying the current temperatures with daytime highs in the 80s and nighttime lows around 60? Then you’ll love the next 10 days that feature more of the same.
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The next full moon to light up the night is Sunday, May 3.
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Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. They will be venturing farther from their winter dens as the nights begin to warm. Several large ones have already been reported this year.