Rain helps Tahoe’s levels | NevadaAppeal.com

Rain helps Tahoe’s levels

Annie Flanzraich
Nevada Appeal News Service

LAKE TAHOE – While the recent thunder and rainstorms over Lake Tahoe have not contributed significantly to the lake’s level, it helped nature make the best of the snowpack the mountains received this winter, a local water expert said Tuesday.

“Since the big rainstorms in early May we haven’t had any large rises, but it’s just a little bit every day, and if nothing else, it’s offsetting evaporation, which is huge,” said Chief Deputy Water Master Chad Blanchard with the U.S. District Court Water Masters Office in Reno.

The lake’s level has risen .14 feet since May 26, bringing it to 6224.61 by Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s about .86 feet less than the level on June 9, 2008.

Lake Tahoe already has exceeded the .9 foot rise predicted by the National Weather Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service with a 1.02 rise since April 1.

The precipitation helps the lake level not only by making up for evaporation but also by keeping the ground moist. This allows snowpack runoff to go directly to the lake instead of being absorbed into the ground, Blanchard said.

“It’s been the perfect spring for maximizing the snowpack we had,” he said.