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California Braces for ‘The Big Melt’

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Snowmelt filling a high mountain lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.  (Getty Images)

A winter of unusually heavy rain and snow elevated California’s mountain snowpack to levels not seen in years. But now that temperatures are rising, the state is bracing for “The Big Melt” that could cause massive flooding. Close to a third of the state’s water supply comes from the snowpack that accumulates in the winter and melts in the summer. California’s water infrastructure was designed to capture and store snowmelt and prevent floods, but with  climate change intensifying water levels to extreme highs and lows, the system is pushed to its limits. We’ll talk about how prepared the Golden State is for an influx of water and what communities can expect.


Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh, senior fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment - where his research focuses on climate and earth system dynamics.

Hayley Smith, reporter focusing on extreme weather, Los Angeles Times

Nicholas Pinter, chair in applied geosciences, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Davis; associate director, Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California Davis


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