‘Miracle March’ redux? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Miracle March’ redux?

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Christer and Emmy Arnesen from Vancouver stroll along the walkway at Regan Beach on Tuesday morning. Stormy weather is expected to last all week.

With March 2006 starting out wet with a winter storm watch on the way, city Street Superintendent Scott Rogers was reminded of one stand-out winter month when his crews were working the storm drains.

Years of drought and the months leading up to March 1991 were dry until the season corrected itself in what was deemed the “Miracle March.”

“Everybody put winter away, and winter came back with a vengeance,” said Rogers, who was a plow operator at the time. The Public Works Department cleared every storm drain to ensure the water wouldn’t flood city streets. It rained almost 13 inches – about 12 times the amount that fell in February.

“It was an extremely dry winter (until March). That’s why they call it ‘Miracle March,'” said Kelly Redmond, climatologist for the Western Regional Climate Center.

The city crews were out again Tuesday, the last day of February. It had rained all night, and Public Works wanted to ensure water didn’t flood structures. The city reported “localized and minor” flooding – mainly in the Bijou area, state streets off Tahoe Keys Boulevard and low-lying sections of thoroughfares near the meadows. Some residents had reported minor flooding off Bill Avenue.

El Dorado County and Caltrans had no reports of flooding, except some collection of water along the ditches on Highway 89 near 15th Street.

The National Weather Service reported 1.46 inches of rain had fallen at lake level from this latest storm. By Tuesday afternoon, up to 5 inches of snow had collected. City, county and state road crews view the rain turning to snow as a break for the draining of the stormwater because the snow melts later. The snow acts like a sponge.

“Now if we had had 3- to 5 inches of rain, then we’d have a problem,” Public Works Director John Greenhut said.

The Northern Nevada region is predicted to get a break today. But a winter storm watch goes into effect from Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.

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