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Hot Valley should drive folks to Tahoe

by Andy Bourelle

While it is expected to be hotter than normal at Lake Tahoe this weekend, it’s not going to be nearly as hot as the lower-elevation areas surrounding the Sierra Nevada – and everyone knows it.

A noticeable influx of visitors is expected to hit the streets, beaches and waters of Lake Tahoe this weekend, taking cover from the higher-than-normal temperatures blanketing the West.

“The hotter it gets in the (California Central) Valley, the more people are going to come up to the lake and the mountains,” said Mike Weber, president and managing director of Camp Richardson and chair of the board for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

The late summer and rain in May and June probably will add to the increase of visitors.

“You have this pent-up demand, fueled by the high temperatures,” he said. “It should be a banner weekend for us.”

Although the recent weather will have little impact on people from across the United States who have had Lake Tahoe vacations planned far in advance, more people are expected from areas within driving distance.

According to Skip Sayre, director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and member of the board of directors for the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority, historically there is a “little bit of a blip” in the number of Tahoe visitors when temperatures are extremely high in Sacramento and the bay area.

The increase is good for Tahoe businesses.

“Weather is a huge factor in our market,” Sayre said, “and it’s playing into our favor after playing out of our favor last winter.”

Other officials agreed the heat will be good for business.

“When it gets over 100 down in the Valley, it does wonders for our economy,” said Duane Wallace, executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce.

Although more visitors are expected, not everyone expects a significant number of them.

“I don’t personally swallow that,” said Ed McCarthy, president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. “In the old days, before air conditioning, it was certainly a factor. But now, everywhere has air conditioning. Houses, restaurants, businesses are all air conditioned. Sure, it will have an impact, but not like in the days of old. Although, I would love to be wrong.”

Temperatures in Sacramento are expected to exceed 105 throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office. In the San Francisco area, temperatures at the coast are expected to be in the 70s, and inland temperatures are expected in the 90s. In Nevada, temperatures from Reno to Carson Valley are expected to exceed 100 degrees throughout the weekend, according to the weather service’s Reno office.

Lake Tahoe temperatures, however, are expected to stay in the mid to high 80s.

According to the Lake Tahoe Airport, the high temperature Wednesday was 83 degrees, and the high Thursday was 88, which is Lake Tahoe’s high for July this year.

Jim Ashby, assistant climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center in Stead, Nev., said the Tahoe area can normally expect July temperatures averaging about 80 degrees.

Lake Tahoe’s current temperatures may break records for certain days, Ashby said. However, the all-time July high for South Lake Tahoe is 99 degrees, and Ashby said it is not likely temperatures in upcoming days will be close to that.

The increased temperatures, at Tahoe and in the rest of the West, won’t be leaving any time soon, according to the National Weather Service’s Reno office.

A large high-pressure area, centralized in Southern California, is causing the extreme heat, and the high temperatures are expected to remain.

“There won’t be a whole lot of change for the next several days, and it could persist a little longer than that,” said Forecaster Larry Osterman.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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