There are dozens of words to describe snow at Lake Tahoe: Powder, corn, chicken feathers. There are as many ways to describe how that snow falls: Dumping, nuking, puking.
But I don’t know exactly what to call the absolute torrent of pea-sized hail that hit parts of Lake Tahoe Monday. Rather than melting instantly as would be expected in August, the hail hung around on the ground throughout a good portion of Tuesday. The impressively powerful rainstorms have been surprisingly common this summer.
I can’t complain too much about the rain. Seeing buckets of moisture hit the parched Sierra Nevada is great. Scrambling to clean out your flooded garage? Not so much.
When I first moved to the Sierra Nevada nine years ago, I was told it can snow every month on the calendar. While I haven’t seen that occurrence with my own eyes yet, I’ve seen enough astonishing weather to know just about anything is possible. Local knowledge posits that it’s Memorial Day when we’re always supposed to get precipitation, not Labor Day. Eh, I always get the two holidays confused anyway. I do know that I’m more likely to see a video of a friend snowskating on Memorial Day than Labor day, as I did this week. Yes, it was snowskating through a couple inches of corny hail in a backyard, but it was snowskating, in August, nonetheless.
I know, I know, it’s only Labor Day. I imagine I’ll be chastised by the heat-loving masses at Lake Tahoe for even mentioning snowsports at this time of year. There are still several months of anxious anticipation to go before winter truly gets started. There is also still plenty of hope for an Indian summer. There I go getting ahead of myself again. Before an Indian summer can begin, actual summer has to fade into the history books. And that reality hasn’t happened just yet.
There’s plenty of opportunities to get your warm-weather kicks in this weekend. The lake is about as hot as it’s going to get. There are beers to be cracked, barbecues to be lit and steaks to be burned. The trails are in amazing shape for this time of year, and there is a long list of activities and events for just about every taste around the lake.
Temperatures are forecast in the mid-70s and I have no reason to believe those comfortable temperatures won’t materialize, except that, you know, when it comes to weather in the Sierra Nevada, anything can happen.
Adam Jensen is the editor of Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.