It looked like winter came early at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore on Monday, following a brief, but vigorous, hailstorm.
A late August storm dumped almost three-quarters of an inch of precipitation between about 5:30 p.m. and 7:50 p.m., said Zach Tolby, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
It blanketed several streets with pea-sized hail balls, leaving some backyards looking like a partially formed winter wonderland near South Lake Tahoe’s “Y” intersection.
The downpour also caused some minor flooding and clogged drains around town, said Ray Jarvis, public works director for the City of South Lake Tahoe.
“We spent a lot time cleaning up all of that today,” he said, “but there was nothing severe.”
Tolby said the storm seemed to be extremely localized, only really affecting the South Shore area. As strange as it seemed, it really wasn’t that unusual for the Alpine destination, he added.
“It happens there from time to time,” he said.
As of Tuesday, South Lake Tahoe had received 1.69 inches of precipitation in August. But it’s difficult to tell whether that’s above or below the average since the weather service’s data history is spotty in the area.
Tolby did say, however, that the storm wasn’t much to get worked up about in regards to countering the drought. Most of the water that falls on the region does so during winter months, meaning summer rainfall has little impact on the final total.
“Summertime events like this are nice and good for the forest,” he said, “but it doesn’t go far to alleviate the drought.”
Earlier this year, meteorologists predicted that California might benefit from increased precipitation brought on by an El Nino event. However, they are now predicting a 65 percent chance of that happening.
Either way, it isn’t likely that Lake Tahoe would feel the impacts of El Nino because of its location, Tolby said.
“I think the biggest takeaway is that it doesn’t have any correlation between precipitation in the sierra,” he said.
Tolby isn’t expecting any precipitation in South Lake Tahoe over the new several days either, but said there should be plenty of sun.
High temperatures are expected to warm up into the 80s by Saturday, with lows hitting the mid-40s.