After a long drought in the Lake Tahoe basin, there is finally a glimmer of hope. It was hard to see the devastation the drought had on the lake and even harder to see its lasting effects on our economy. This year we are finally starting to see a difference in the weather patterns. More rain and more snow have been a huge relief in the new year. A four-day long snow storm and rain earlier on in the new year have given the town what we’ve all been missing, snow! We are finally starting to see the lake level reach near normal. With an accumulation of over in the last two weeks, the residents around the lake can rest assured that we will have higher lake levels and a healthier economy.
The amount of snow that accumulates around the lake throughout the winter helps drive our tourist markets. Also, in the summer months when we have a healthy lake, we produce more revenue and attract more visitors. It’s no surprise with our world-class ski resorts and our beautiful lake beaches that all markets are driven by snow. The snow pack that settles high up in the mountains feed the lakes and rivers throughout the summer and essentially keep our lake levels close to normal all year long.
According to the California Cooperative Snow Surveys, the Central Sierras have experienced a 163% increase in the amount of snowfall compared to this date last year. In some areas, there has been over 165” in snowfall since January 1st. That’s enough to say that we are back on track to a white winter.
Currently, the gage height of the lake has risen to 4.66 ft in the past week. This means that the lake has risen 4.66 ft from the average base height of 6,220 ft. This is huge for all life around the lake, including ourselves. The amount of water that has been added back into the lake will help to rectify some of the damage the drought has caused.
With high hopes, I think we are reaching the end of the drought. The lake Tahoe basin is predicted to have many more storms throughout the duration of the winter. If the weather continues with the same momentum, the lake should eventually exceed its natural rim.