HANFORD — Thanks to heavy rain and snow in recent weeks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials who operate Pine Flat Dam are doing something unthinkable in the last several severe drought years on the Kings River: They've started doing flood releases.

Flood releases are when dam operators let water out of the reservoir early in the year to leave enough capacity to hold a big snowmelt later in the season.

The Kings River snowpack is averaging 224 percent of normal for this time of year, based on measurements from six remote sensors operated by the California Department of Water Resources.

The next official snow survey is scheduled for Wednesday. The first runoff forecasts are expected later in the month.

The reporter can be reached at snidever@hanfordsentinel.com or 583-2432.