Public Safety Notice:
Flows on the Merced River to increase as temperatures rise

Merced, CA. May 7, 2024 –The Merced Irrigation District is warning the public of significant increases in the flow of the Merced River below its facilities of New Exchequer and McSwain dams. The increases will begin this week and coincide with increasing temperatures causing increased snowmelt to flow into Lake McClure.

River flows in the Snelling area will increase from approximately 600 cubic feet per second up to 2,600 cubic feet per second in the coming days. The increased flows are expected to continue through May.

“It is imperative that people are aware of the changing river conditions and exercise extreme caution,” said MID Deputy General Manager Hicham ElTal. “There are likely to be varying amounts of water being released down the river as the spring snowmelt continues and people should not assume the flows from today will be the same flow tomorrow. The bottom line is we are beginning to release spring runoff down the river. With a significant amount of snowpack and changing temperatures, increased snowmelt will cause increased flows on the Merced River.”

Lake McClure, which provides both flood control and water storage for agriculture, is currently near its maximum operating level for this time of year. The 2023-24 winter brought significant amounts of snow to the Sierra. As that snow melts, it will be passed through Lake McClure.

“The water is cold, moving extremely swiftly and should be considered dangerous,” said ElTal. “We will continue to inform the community about the flows of water below our facilities. In the meantime, we are recommending that people find alternative recreation that doesn’t include entering the Merced River at this time.”

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