Over 2 feet of snow at Lake Tahoe in May? ‘It’s not out of the norm’
The snowpack remains large and the snow it seems just keeps falling at Lake Tahoe.
At least three times this past week, residents went to bed and woke up with a layer of white that quickly melted by the afternoon, and snow showers have been continuous in the high country.
On Wednesday morning Squaw Valley reported 32 inches of new snow in the past seven days, which brought the resort’s season total to 714 inches.
And more storms are in the forecast.
An above average amount of precipitation has fallen in May and has by far surpassed anything that fell in April.
Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said precipitation amounts through Wednesday are already matching or above average monthly totals for May in most areas of the eastern Sierra and across Northern Nevada.
Chris Johnston, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that the May weather Tahoe is receiving is not uncommon.
“It’s not out of the norm to have spring conditions like this through the month of May,” Johnston said. “We’re just maybe caught off guard because the last two years warmed up quicker.”
Snow continues to fall at higher elevation and melting at SNOTEL sites above 8,000 has stalled, delaying the “melt-out” and pushing the water flow later in the season.
“Most SNOTEL sites have picked up between 1 to 5 inches this month,” Anderson said. “Precipitation amounts this month are very consistent across the region. Of the 57 SNOTEL sites with 30 year normals, only 21 typically still have snow at this time in the spring. Currently, 37 of those sites are measuring snow and have gained 1.5 to nearly 4 inches of new snow water equivalent in the past week.”
The SNOTEL site at Heavenly Mountain Resort was at 123% as of Wednesday and Mt. Rose Ski Area was at 129%.
Johnston says rain showers are in the forecast “basically through Monday” with snow levels hovering around 7,500 to 8,000 feet likely causing chain controls to be in effect periodically through the weekend on mountain passes.
Further south in the High sierra towards Lee Vining and Mammoth, up to a foot of snow could fall this weekend.
“By Tuesday and Wednesday it should get back into the 60s,” Johnston said. “It’s definitely going to warm up by the middle to late next week.”