Storms helped but Tahoe still below rim
October 24, 2004
Last week’s storms brought some much needed precipitation to the Lake Tahoe region, as the lake level is finally starting to rise. But Tahoe still remains below its rim.
“The lake came up about a tenth of a foot, but it is not over the rim,” said Gerald Rockwell of the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division in Carnelian Bay.
Rockwell said that the Truckee River is being fed by its tributaries, but is not yet receiving any flow from Lake Tahoe.
“There is nothing coming out of the lake,” Rockwell said.
As of Friday, Lake Tahoe was at 6222.74 feet, .26 feet below its natural rim but up almost a quarter of a foot from where it was before the storms, Rockwell said.
With more rain and snow in the forecast, the lake level will most likely continue to rise although it could be some time before it reaches its natural rim.
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With no water flowing from Lake Tahoe through the Truckee River, the lake’s only outlet, most of the water loss is due to evaporation.
“The rule of thumb is that the lake evaporates about one one-hundredth of a foot per day,” Rockwell said.
That number adds up to about 360,000 acre-feet of water evaporating from Lake Tahoe each year, which is enough to supply three to four families with water for one year.
The National Weather Service in Reno reports a larger system that is expected to move in from the west today, bringing with it more rain and snow.
“It will probably be similar to what we had with this last system with more snow at the higher elevations,” said Brian O’Hara, a meteorologist with the National Weather System in Reno.
Snow levels are expected to start at 7,000 feet and drop to about 5,000 feet by Tuesday, O’Hara said.