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High Heat Quickly Melting Away California's Snowpack

EMIGRANT GAP (CBS13) – That excessive heat warning into the foothills is doing a number on the impressive snowpack in the Sierra.

With temperatures in the 80s, what took weeks to melt is now taking days.

"We found a little bit of snow and we were excited because it was a novelty. But then we realized it was everywhere, said Josh Jameison.

Jameison and his girlfriend Megan didn't expect to see so much snow as they set off for a hike.

"The snow is a lot higher than previous years because I am usually out here on the first, and it's still pretty bad," she said.

But snow on Loch Leven Trail during their midday hike didn't last long.

"It started to get a little dangerous. We both had our legs push through where it gets hollow from where water is running underneath," she said.

The couple said the snow on the trail melted within two hours. Not surprising when temperatures reached near 90. Rivers are roaring on their way downstream to places like Folsom Lake and Nimbus Dam. But authorities say it's just not there yet.

"We know the snow is melting and it's coming, but we just aren't seeing those large inflows," said Todd Plain with the California Bureau of Reclamation.

The Bureau of Reclamation, which monitors and manages in and outflows based on weather and snow runoff, says it's a balancing act keeping lakes full while providing safe flows downriver for recreational use.

"We dropped about two feet at Folsom Lake over the weekend, from 99% to 95% full, so we are ramping down releases from 15000 CFS to 8000 CFS by Friday," said Plain.

Enjoy the scenic snow views while they last, because Mother Nature appears to finally be ready to welcome summer in the Sierra.

"If we had come tomorrow, we would not have been able to go nearly as far as we did," Jameison said.

The state looks at inflows and outflows daily. The magic number to have downstream is 8000 CFS for whitewater rafting. Think of a cubic foot as a basketball, and now imagine 8000 of them coming at you. The river is flowing twice or three times that.

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