Fast snow melt didn’t quite flood rivers over weekend |

Fast snow melt didn’t quite flood rivers over weekend

Greyson Howard
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Jason Shueh / Tahoe Daily TribuneFrom top to bottom, North Tahoe Fire Protection District Firefighter/Paramedic Nikki Wagner watches as Firefighter/Paramedic Julie Osburn hurdles a web of rescue line to a mock water victim during a recent water safety training session on the Truckee River. The training - coordinated by North Tahoe Fire - and training gear was made possible through an $80,000 gran from Homeland Security through Placer County.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE – Despite warm weather and lots of left over snow, local rivers and streams didn’t reach flood levels over the weekend, and nobody got into trouble, according to officials.

Last week the National Weather Service office in Reno issued a statement warning of the possibility of flooding and fast, high flows as both day-time temperatures climbed and overnight lows stayed above freezing.

“In the Truckee area, none reached the flood stage, but they were definitely flowing higher and faster than typical,” said Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist with the Reno office.

He said flows were faster Sunday, but the Truckee River only reached 3.25 feet, where flood level is more than 4.5 feet.

Truckee Fire Protection District Public Safety and Information Officer Gene Welch said the district got no calls for swift water rescue over the weekend.

“We had a call on Donner Summit about a kayaker in distress, but it turned out to be false,” Welch said.

But he said kayakers aren’t often the concern, as they generally wear wetsuits or drysuits for the cold water.

“We’re concerned when a family buys a plastic raft and is unaware of the hazards,” Welch said.

Stream flows have slowed since Sunday, Deutschendorf said, and with temperatures continuing to cool this week, they should drop farther.

“(Starting Wednesday) low pressure is coming in bringing temperatures down by 10 or 15 degrees,” Deutschendorf said. “Thursday and Friday will be in the upper 50s.”

By Sunday temperatures should be back in the 70s, and even reach toward the 80s next Monday and Tuesday, he said.

“A lot of snow already melted, so unless we have a heavy rain event at the higher altitudes, the rivers may have reached their peak,” Deutschendorf said.

As for Lake Tahoe, its levels stood at 6224.32 elevation feet as of midday Tuesday, based on measurements taken by the U.S. Geological Survey in Tahoe City, up from its lowest point in December of nearly 6225.50 elevation feet. Tahoe’s natural rim is 6,223 elevation feet. Last year, in November, it dipped below that mark for the first time in five years.

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