Flooding not likely with Tahoe-area spring runoff
Nevada Appeal News Service
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – While basin rivers are already gorged to their rims with spring runoff, there’s a lot more to come.
In Lake Tahoe and its tributaries, this year’s water – melted snow as well as rain – comes to 110 percent of average. But high in the mountains, there’s a snowpack at 176 percent of average waiting to melt off.
Officials are hesitant to warn of flooding, however.
“If you get warm rain while the temperatures are warm, like thunderstorms, that could cause problems if it really starts dumping,” said Gary Barbato, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Reno. “If it’s snowmelt alone, you will probably be fine.”
He said flooding could be an issue in the basin except for the North Shore, where the Truckee River usually does not flood because the lake has a huge capacity to soak up extra water.
With the above-average numbers, Lake Tahoe officially left a five-year drought behind a few weeks ago.
“The only remnant of the drought is that Tahoe is not rim full,” Barbato said.
While Lake Tahoe can hold up to 6 feet above its natural rim, it is only 1 foot above the rim.
That is 13 percent of its above-rim capacity, 24 percent of average as of May 1.
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