Warm Spring Could Mitigate Summer Runoff - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Warm Spring Could Mitigate Summer Runoff

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A record breaking snow pack in the Sierra has left some experts worrying about the possibility of the Truckee River flooding during the summer months.

According to Tim Bardsley with the National Weather Service, in order to avoid flooding from snow melt later in the year, the early spring months would need enough warm weather to get rid of some of the Sierra snow.

"A little bit less area to melt so it can actually help mitigate our flooding by getting rid of the snow now," says Bardsley.

He says fortunately the snow melt has already begun, but only at the lower elevations. He says the rate of the snow melt is currently larger than normal at this time of year, but not yet at a dangerous level since the higher elevations haven't had any runoff. Bardsley says it's difficult to get those higher elevation flows during March and April because the energy of the sun isn't quite what it is during the summer months.

"Sun angles aren't quite as high now as they will be in May and June when you can really melt snow very rapidly," says Bardsley.

Once the snow does begin to rapidly melt during summer, Bardsley says not even the vegetation will soak up some of the moisture because of how wet the landscape already is.

“And that has a lot to do with the soil moisture which is very wet right now from all of the rain and snow events we've had this winter so we are expecting a very efficient runoff," says Bardsley.

Bardsley says the experts won’t have real answers about flood concerns until closer into summer.

"What the weather is like here on for the next six weeks is going to be an enormous factor in whether we have minor snow melt flooding issues or very major snow melt flooding issues," says Bardsley.

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