South Lake Tahoe 2009 top ten stories: 10) Curious weather patterns |

South Lake Tahoe 2009 top ten stories: 10) Curious weather patterns

Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneFour-year-old Valeria Tress plays in the snow at Ski Run Marina.

Between a rainy spring, summer and fall and an unusually warm January, Lake Tahoe’s weather and lake level saw fluctuations across the spectrum in 2009.

In mid-January temperatures hit close to record highs at 50 degrees or higher. The unseasonably warm weather concerned meteorologists and hydrologists. In January the average water content of the snow around the basin was 60 percent of normal.

By February an active weather pattern deposited a foot of snow at high elevations and another slushy storm brought snowpack levels up to 79 percent of average. The water equivalent was about 75 percent.

Storms in March bolstered the snowpack but didn’t bring enough moisture to fill California’s reservoirs through the spring.

However, the end of May brought eight straight days of rain, thunderstorms and the wettest June since 1870. Another strong rain system came through the Basin in October after snow fell earlier in the month.

The rains did not prevent Lake Tahoe from dropping below its natural rim of 6,223 feet in November.

By November, the first big storm of the 2009-10 winter came after a fickle forecast. Snow storms continued through December, with two large storms Dec. 5 through Dec. 6 and Dec. 11 through 13 bringing feet of snow to Tahoe’s lake level and higher elevations.

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