Speed Reads

lost lake

The snowmelt in California could cause a long-lost lake to re-emerge

California's extreme rain and snow may cause a once-lost lake to re-emerge, Axios reports. The season's snowmelt could cause the state's Tulare Lake to return after being dried up for approximately 80 years, according to Newsweek

Indeed, "there is more and more water pouring into the Tulare Lake Basin and that water is not going to be leaving the basin for the foreseeable future," per Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist. Tulare used to be the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, and last appeared in 1982.

California has set a record high for snowpack, raising flood concerns for ranchers and farmers as the precipitation melts. "Unfortunately, the reality is all of these areas are likely going to flood eventually this spring as the flooding continues to worsen," Swain continued, adding that there are "some very powerful agricultural interests ... engaging in unilateral actions that might actually harm adjacent communities," namely farmers and low-income regions.

And the return of Tulare Lake will spell trouble for the surrounding area, which is likely to become inundated with water, writes the San Francisco Chronicle. "There's a lot of uncertainty with the snowmelt," explains Greg Gatzka, city manager of Corcoran, California, one of the cities near the lake. "If it becomes too much water, it's a whole different situation."

"These are rural communities of color that are home to the people who grow and pick the produce of the Central Valley, and we're bearing the brunt," said Dezaraye Bagalayos, director of program coordination for the Allensworth Progressive Association. Climate change has made the risk of excessive snowpack and melt higher, leaving communities to deal with flood prevention themselves. "This can't continue to happen. It's not acceptable for us to get flooded up."