Lake Tahoe dips below natural rim again
November 3, 2009
LAKE TAHOE – After a few days of flirting with its natural rim, Lake Tahoe’s water level has stayed below the mark for the past four days.
On Wednesday, Oct. 28, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the lake dropped to 6222.95 feet and has stayed at about that level since, as of Monday afternoon.
It marks the second time the water level has fallen below 6,223 feet in almost five years.
“We have three consecutive below-average winters – you could argue we are in a drought cycle right now, but we are definitely in a dry spell,” Bill Hauck, Truckee Meadows Water Authority senior water supply coordinator, told the Sun the last time the water level fell on Oct. 13.
The last time the lake dipped below its natural rim, which sits at 6,223 feet, before this year was January 2005.
The lowest the lake’s level has been is 6,220 feet in 1992, and the highest it has been was in 1907 at 6,231 feet, according to TMWA records.
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The second-worst drought in Tahoe’s recorded history lasted from 1928 to 1935, and wasn’t topped until the drought of 1987 to 1994.
After the drought ended in mid-1995, Tahoe saw its most dramatic rise, going from 6,221 feet in Oct. 1994 to almost 6,227 in July on 1995, according to TMWA records.
TMWA research shows it takes roughly two or three years of non-drought precipitation on average to refill the lake after a drought period.