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Thunderstorms pound Tahoe Basin

Patrick McCartney

A thunderstorm triggered by a late-season storm front drenched Lake Tahoe on Sunday, capping off a week of afternoon mountain storms.

After the passage of the weak front, warm temperatures should return and the basin will dry out, said Stephen Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

“The weather picture gets better the rest of the week as an upper-level ridge of high pressure builds up,” Adams said.

Temperatures should rise to above average today and Wednesday as the summer-like pattern develops.

Nearly half an inch of rain fell at the Lake Tahoe Airport on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day with measurable rainfall. For the month, 1.69 inches of rain has fallen at the airport, according to Mindy Johnke of Oasis Aviation, which records precipitation for the weather service.

With 1.5 inches of rain at Lake Tahoe the day before the Memorial Day weekend, both May and June have been wetter than the three-month period of February to April.

The showers during the last four weeks were caused by a series of late-season cold fronts off the Pacific Ocean that had been blocked by a stubborn high-pressure system.

“A cold Pacific low dropped down on top of us,” Adams said about the system that swept through on Friday.

Hard rains in the American River watershed caused some erosion over the weekend. According to automated precipitation sensors installed by the U.S. Geological Survey, 0.6 inches of rain fell at the site of the Kyburz landslide on Saturday, followed by a 0.1-inch shower on Sunday.

Temperatures should drop back to normal by the weekend, as seasonal winds from the west are re-established, Adams said.


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