Read the full story in the Washington Post.
Across California’s long, flat, usually parched and dusty Central Valley, farmers and residents are used to waiting for water to come. But not like this.
Blanketing the Sierra Nevada above them, a historic amount of snow is slowly beginning to melt. The snowpack, more than 230 percent of normal, is the result of an onslaught of atmospheric rivers and storms that deluged the state for weeks in January and March, damaging coastal cities, rural farming communities and mountain towns.
As California’s brutal winter gives way to the warmth of spring, that deep snowpack will eventually melt, sending a massive amount of water into the vulnerable, low-lying valley below — and toward flood control systemsthat in many cases are woefully unprepared to handle it.
The possible slow-moving disaster looming above the Central Valley — a densely populated agricultural powerhouse that produces a fourth of the nation’s food — has the potential to cause billions in loss and damage, submerge towns and affect tens of thousands of residents, many of them farmworkers and families with low incomes who have already this year endured significant flooding and sodden crops.