Roughly 90 percent of California’s snowpack hasn’t melted yet, according to a posted share to Twitter on Friday. And when it does, it could be devastating.
The image of California’s mountain ranges, shared by amateur meteorologist Colin McCarthy, was captioned, “The ‘Big Melt’ is ramping up today as one of the biggest snowpacks in California’s history begins to rapidly melt.”
McCarthy’s picture shows three distinct regions across the western shores of the U.S.: the green of California’s replenished landscape, the snow-packed mountains throughout the state, and the desert beyond. Other users shared images under the post of a snow-packed Mammoth mountain, where the levels reached more than double the height of a car.
The “Big Melt” is ramping up today as one of the biggest snowpacks in California’s history begins to rapidly melt.
~90% of the snow water content from this year’s snowpack has yet to melt! pic.twitter.com/kIMGN1uhNT
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) April 21, 2023
So, what happens if all this water melts quickly? The simple answer is: flooding. After back-to-back extreme weather events since Christmas 2022, California could face extreme disaster. The snowpack is currently more than 230 percent above normal, according to the Washington Post.
This snowpack will eventually turn into a deluge, descending into California’s many valleys and lowlands, the outlet noted. One region under particular threat is the Central Valley, where a quarter of all food in the U.S. is grown.
The amount of snow that will melt in the coming weeks and months has enough power to cause billions of dollars of damage and loss, and even submerge towns, WaPo argued.
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My superhero identity is Weather Girl and my power is brutal honesty about how stupid people are about climate change science 🤘🏽🇺🇸 https://t.co/GUllS87g9M
— KAY SMYTHE (@KaySmythe) January 11, 2023
The Los Angeles Times reported that the amount of snow set to melt has produced a high flood danger. The California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) has held meetings with experts and federal flood authorities to discuss how best to manage the situation.
In typical California fashion, literally nothing appears to be happening to mitigate the worst impacts of potential flooding. “It’s just a constant coordination and collaborative effort to try to manage the water as best as possible to minimize those impacts to help improve public safety and minimize flooding,” CDRW official Jeremy Arrich told ABC7. (RELATED: Death Toll From Major Storms Rises To At Least 20)
Other officials blamed the uncertainty of climate change for their inaction, according to The Guardian. Apparently the experts have no idea how the snow will melt, despite having plenty of data, models, and variables available to map out potential consequences and plan for the worst catastrophe. It appears Californians will have to just deal with this situation themselves, as they did throughout the storms earlier in 2023.