2014/15 = Tahoe’s Official Worst Snowfall Year on Record

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Unhappy Lake Tahoe
How Lake Tahoe Currently Looks from Space.

Lake Tahoe just officially had it’s worst snowfall year on record.  We just checked in with lead snow scientist Randall Osterhuber of the UC Berkeley Snow Laboratory on Donner Summit yesterday and he gave us the rough news.

This year we’ve only gotten 126″ of snow at the Lab and the previous worst year on record was 182″ of snow.  So, Congrats Tahoe, we did it.  The worst snowfall season on record is now ours.  Hopefully, this means that it “can’t get any worse.”  Right?

Randall Osterhuber
Randall Osterhuber



“We’ve received 320cm (126”) of snowfall this past year, this is the lowest amount the Snow Lab’s ever measured. Winter 1977, the next least snowiest year, had 464cm (182) snowfall. We have had more precipt than 1977 though. What significant storms we did see this past year were warm with a fair bit of rain and little or no snow. Average snowfall here on May 1 is 1006 cm, so we’re about 32 percent of average. Our max depth occurred Dec 20 at 79 cm. We reached 0 snow depth on March 13, about 71 days earlier than average.” – Randall Osterhuber


The UC Berkeley Snow Laboratory on Donner Summit is located at 6,900-feet and is home to the only accurate, scientific snow totaling system in the Lake Tahoe region.  They’ve been keeping snowfall records there since 1946.  Thus, this was the worst snowfall year on record since records began in 1946.  The Southern Pacific railroad has been keeping snowfall data since 1879 but their numbers are not considered reliable by modern scientists.


Total Snowfall = 126″ (least on record)

Average Snowfall as of May 1st = 396″

Current Percent of Average Snowfall Total= 32%

Average Yearly Snowfall = 409″

Max Snow Depth This Winter = 31″

0 Snow Depth Reached on March 13th (71 days earlier than average)

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