A video shared in early May shows the once-lost Tulare Lake returning to California after back-to-back extreme weather events throughout winter and early spring.
Tulare Lake used to be the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi river, and was believed to have been in place since the Pleistocene Era, according to GeographyRealm. It almost completely dried out as a result of dams and water diversions in the Central Valley region of California (almost exactly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles).
Reports and videos shared online show how the meltwater from California’s surprise 2022-2023 snowpack is reviving this once-lost waterway. The 2023 snowpack for California is four times the average, according to YourCentralValley.
California’s long lost Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi is returning with a vengeance due to a record wet winter. The lake is over 20 miles wide and has a surface area over half the size of Lake Tahoe! https://t.co/nBVwgOVgpj
— MyRadar Weather (@MyRadarWX) May 4, 2023
Experts from NASA suggest that the growth rate of the lake between February 1. to April 30. suggests that it will continue to flood until at least 2024, the outlet noted.
“Right now at this moment we’re in a good place but we’re still vigilant, alerts, our emergency response systems are open, we’re monitoring the weather, the flows, speaking with the army corps of engineers department of Water resources who are prepositioning supplies along the Kings River,” Kings County emergency service manager Abraham Valencia told YCV.
At least three large rivers and some smaller waterway feed into Tulare Lake, and all of the various bodies of water throughout Kings County are being closely monitored. The region is not designed to deal with this much water, so efforts are being particularly focused on the city of Corcoran. (RELATED: California Braces For ‘The Big Melt.’ It Could Be Catastrophic)
Locals have been told to turn on all emergency alerts to stay up-to-date should anything major or catastrophic occur, YCV noted. While the water will eventually drain back into the bed and settle, this could take many unpredictable months.