Like someone flipped a switch, the calendar change from March to April also suddenly turned the water spigot off over the South Valley. Consider the Giant Forest weather station at 6,000 feet that went from 50 inches received as of March 1 to 85 inches at the end of the month.
But after April 1, the Giant Forest has seen under an inch. Likewise, in Hanford, where we saw 4 inches in March and none in April so far, with none on the horizon. For the water year Giant Forest has received more than double the annual average.
Temps to reach the mid 80s
National Weather Service Hanford says by Saturday afternoon maximum temperatures across Central California will be seven to nine degrees above normal for this time of year - in the mid 80s.
The heat will likely speed up snow melt in the Sierra, where temps could reach into the 60s. On the Kings River flows continue to rise, as releases from Pine Flat Dam increase. A flood advisory has been upgraded to a flood warning. Rivers are swift, cold, and dangerous. Stay out of closed rivers for your safety and the safety of first responders.
To make room, releases from Pine Flat are continuing with the reservoir down to about 55% of capacity.
After diversions by the upper districts, flows past the Kingsburg area to Highway 99 continue to be about 9,200 cubic feet per second. There continues to be localized flooding in low-lying areas along the river, particularly as far downstream as parts of the Kingsburg area.
How much water?
At the Kings River Water Association meeting this week, it was reported that inflow to Pine Flat Reservoir has been varying modestly for the past couple of weeks, generally between about 5,500 and 6600 cfs as a result of residual lower elevation runoff and the early phases of the snowmelt runoff.
Snowmelt runoff is expected to pick up over the next two weeks. The water association believes reservoir inflow will likely begin to balance current releases by May 1.
The Department of Water Resources' current forecast for the Kings is for April through July peak season runoff to be, on a "most probable" basis, 3.24 million acre feet, 269% of average. It could range upward to more than 3.6 million acre feet.
Got lake - need boat
Kings County sheriff's deputies need to make their way around Kings County, and given the flooding of over 40,000 acres, the county’s first responders say they need a boat.
This week the Board Supervisors agreed to buy an inflatable rescue boat. The current county rescue boat has limited load capacity. The sheriff's rescue unit got a ride with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office — which purchased two Inmar 14-foot Inflatable boats recently.
The Water Rescue Unit of Kings has had the opportunity to observe and operate one of them. Their Inmar boat runs a 25 horse power outboard motor which stays on plane and handles safely. This boat also has a higher cargo/weight capacity and is larger overall. It will be a 14-foot inflatable boat.
Public assistance federal aid approved
Kings County has been put on the list by Governor Newsom to be eligible for federal aid, as we have weathered more than a dozen atmospheric rivers beginning in December and experienced major flooding.
On April 4, President Biden approved the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. FEMA assistance is now available to affected California communities following the storms in February and March, including the following:
• Individual assistance: Assistance to individuals and households to repair or replace damaged property. Kings County is still not on this FEMA list although Kern and Tulare are. Expect it to be added.
• Public assistance: Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. Counties added as of April 14: Alpine, Fresno, Kings, Merced, Sierra, Kern, Mariposa, San Benito, Tuolumne and Trinity.
These funds are available for people affected after the fact. Kings officials want this funding to help protect the area by raising the levee around Corcoran, and Sacramento officials say they are on the same page and looking to identify a pot of money to do it.
Surfs up dude!
Surf Ranch Pro event to be held at the surfing ranch near Lemoore is set for May 27-28, providing a venue to attract tourists here in the mid summer. The World Surf League will gear up for the sixth stop on the championship tour to be held in Kings County.
The well-publicized event could draw 5,000 to 8,000 spectators according to reports.
The 155-acre compound, founded by world-class surfer Kelly Slater, has created a dedicated space for surf generation systems that will host up to six events per year while providing innovative surf lessons.
A first in California, the state now has its first man-made wave pool equipped with musical performance venues, vending spaces, training rooms, camping site and state-of-the-art recreational facilities.
Construction is not yet complete and is estimated to wind up by 2026, and will feature seven structures including a wave operations building and a gassed-up training center. The best part is that it will all be open to the public.
Whitewater rafting through August
All this water is good news for whitewater rafters who visit the Kaweah River each spring - often for a river run that lasts only a few weeks. Not this year, where the season has already started as of April 1 and will likely last though August says Sequoia Adventures, one of two locally-based rafting firms who are operating this year.
Tours are being offered for both beginners and more adventurous rafters who would launch from higher up the river. To hear more call (559) 561-4413. The other company is Mountain Descents (559) 769-5096.
Local table grape advisor
The UC Cooperative Extension has hired a new Viticulture Farm Advisor, Joy Hollingsworth, who will be serving primarily table grape growers in Tulare and Kings counties. Hollingsworth can be reached at 559-684-3313 or firstname.lastname@example.org