Shallow Snowpack in Lake Tahoe, CA and Northern Nevada Cause Concern for Another Potential Drought Year

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Lake Tahoe’s snowpack in California and Nevada is below average for this time of year right now, prompting concern for another drought year. | Photo courtesy Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group

The snowpack in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra (home to Lake Tahoe) is already below normal this season which prompts concerns that the region could experience another drought year this year. 

If that happens it would make for two drought years in a row for the region. 

As of Monday morning, the snowpack was 71 to 78 percent of median in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Carson basins, the Reno Gazette-Journal reportsIn the Tahoe basin, there is an average of 7.2 inches of water content at measuring sites, down from the usual median amount of 10 inches.

The Truckee and Tahoe basins are at below-average precipitation levels right now. | Photo courtesy Jeff Anderson/Reno Gazette

According to precipitation data shared by the Reno Gazette, Mt. Rose has only 9.2 inches of water content in 36 inches of snow when the median is usually 14.5 inches of water. Data collected so far this year show that the area’s precipitation totals are already 7.2 inches below average for the water year, which started October 1.

Although winter is still young, the snowpack will be a huge determining factor for whether or not the region will experience drought this year. So we as skiers, snowboarders, and nature enthusiasts not only want to see it dump more than ever this winter— but need it to.


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