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Daniel Swain says potential triggers for rapid snowmelt can still occur


Publication: L.A. Times

UCLA Expert: Daniel Swain: Assistant Researcher and Climate Specialist, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Synopsis: Though California may be ending its winter with quenched reservoirs and near record snowpack, meteorologists are warning that the state will face increased flooding risk in the coming months as Sierra Nevada snowmelt fills rivers and streams.The severity of that flooding remains to be seen, however, and depends on a variety of weather factors, experts say.

UCLA News: “It’s going to happen, and the question is whether it happens quickly versus slowly,” Swain said. “Is it gradual snowmelt — in which case the flood concerns would be mostly minor — or is it more rapid … in which case we could be talking about something in the major flood territory.” Potential triggers for rapid snowmelt could be an early season heat wave or another series of warm storms, both of which could lead to “significant snowmelt flooding, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley and on some of the Sierra east-slope watersheds that drain in the Great Basin and into Nevada.”

Read more at L.A. Times.