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California’s re-emerging Lake Tulare could remain for two years

Aerial view (C) of a house surrounded by flood waters of the reviving Lake Tulea in California’s Central Valley on April 14, 2023 in Corcoran, CA.

Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Satellite images taken in the past few weeks show the dramatic resurgence of Lake Tulea in California’s Central Valley and floods that could last as long as two years in previously dry farmlands.

The satellite imagery, provided by planet labs, an earth imaging company, shows a wide swath of land used to grow almonds, tomatoes, cotton and other crops from dry basins, stretching about 10 miles from shore to shore. It shows the transition to deep lakes.

Scientists warn flooding will get worse as historically huge snowpacks from the Sierra Nevada melt, pumping more water into the basin. A heatwave could cause widespread snowmelt in the mountains this week, threatening small farming communities coping with the revived Lake Tulea.

Lakebed water can cause billions of dollars in economic losses and displace thousands of farmers and residents of agricultural communities. Continued flooding threatens the region’s levees, dams and other flood infrastructure.

Satellite images show vast farmlands before the Tulare Basin fills with water.

planet lab

Satellite imagery shows flooding for miles after California’s Lake Tulara returned.

planet lab

Tule Lake was the largest freshwater body west of the Mississippi until the late 1800s. Its tributaries have been diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water use. As the improved lake continues to grow, farmers fear all their crops will be lost and their homes flooded.

The town of Corcoran in the Central Valley, for example, is in danger of bursting its levees from rising waters and has requested emergency federal funding to raise the levees a few feet higher.

Governor Gavin Newsom visited Corcoran this week to assess flood damage and said the worst is still to come as flooded basins see half an inch or an inch of additional water each day. More water may continue to flow for 16 weeks.

“We are working with our federal and local counterparts to provide on-the-ground assistance and the support that locals need,” Newsom said. It’s what the crisis looks like.”

Carla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources, said the basin last had major floods in the 1980s, and it took about two years for the water to evaporate or be pumped out. She said she plans to divert the water before it reaches the bottom of the lake.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom investigates flooding in Lake Tulea on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Corcoran, California.

Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP

However, according to county officials, more than 600 structures in Tulea County have already been affected by the flood, and flood damage is still being calculated.Newsom’s office estimated $60 million in agricultural losses From the field flood.

Potential solutions include installing devices to return water to underground aquifers that have been dried up by years of drought and overuse of the area’s groundwater.

According to the governor’s office, the state has provided shelter for displaced persons and provided flood protection supplies such as sandbags, muscular walls, and rocks and sand to support rivers and embankments.

On March 29, 2023, water fills the bed of Lake Tulea after flooding inhabitants after days of heavy rain in Corcoran, California, USA.

David Swanson | Reuters

California is having an unusual wet season following 20 years of drought. A series of atmospheric rivers have brought near-record levels of snow and rainfall to many parts of the state this year.

A research team at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, Climate change is intensifying atmospheric river storms The resulting flood damage could rise from $1 billion annually to more than $3 billion annually by the end of the century.

Temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley are expected to reach nearly 100 degrees by the end of this week. Yosemite National Park also announced Tuesday that much of the park will be closed on Friday due to melting snowpacks and fear of flooding.

On March 29, 2023, water fills the bed of Lake Tulea after flooding inhabitants after days of heavy rain in Corcoran, California, USA.

David Swanson | Reuters

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/26/californias-reappearing-tulare-lake-could-remain-for-two-years.html California’s re-emerging Lake Tulare could remain for two years

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