Caution advised around rivers, streams with warm temps accelerating snowmelt at Tahoe

Marlette Lake on Lake Tahoe's East Shore is thawing out after an historic winter. Turquoise Weather Melt Tahoe 2023
Hannah Pence/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With temperatures at Tahoe unseasonably warm, it might sound like a good idea to jump into area lakes and streams, but officials are advising caution with water being extremely cold from snowmelt.

High temperatures in the low to mid 70s this week will be about 10 degrees above normal for the time of year that will rapidly melt the snowpack leading to strong, rushing rivers and streams.

“Rising temperatures will continue accelerating snowmelt this week,” the National Weather Service said Tuesday in a special statement. “If planning outdoor recreation, avoid streams and rivers as they will flow fast, cold, and high. The water is extremely cold and shock can quickly set in, causing loss of motor function. There are also likely to be snow bridges present in the backcountry with water flowing beneath them. Use extreme caution.”

While warm, the temperatures will get nowhere near records in the low 80s set 15 years ago, according to weather service data.

The high temps will peak in the mid 70s on Friday and Saturday where thunderstorm chances also return.

The service is forecasting a 10-15% chance of thunderstorms Friday afternoon, mainly in Mono and southern Mineral counties, and also near the Oregon border. The thunderstorm risk could expand across eastern California and western Nevada by the weekend, with a 15-25% chance for a storm at any given location, the statement said.

South to southwest winds are expected to range between 5-10 mph through the rest of the week.

The extended forecast is showing temperatures dropping back towards normal early next week.

Weather graphic snowmelt NWS

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