Wind, warmth have led to more than expected evaporation at Lake Tahoe |

Wind, warmth have led to more than expected evaporation at Lake Tahoe

When it's warm and windy at Lake Tahoe water evaporates faster.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The high wind days Lake Tahoe has experienced has led to more evaporation than normal for this time of year.

According to U.S. Water Master Chad Blanchard, the winds create waves and splash which increases the surface area of the lake, more surface area means more room for evaporation.

Wind in general causes evaporation but the high temperatures the basin has also been experiencing compounds it.

“These wind events have been more like early-spring, late-winter storms so it’s a little different for this time of year,” Blanchard said.

The lake was full coming into this winter so the dry season wasn’t detrimental but Blanchard said if we have one more dry year, we might need to worry. When the lake is full, it can provide water for three years.

The rain storms that the lake experienced in May and early June have helped. Blanchard said the level peaked out at 6,228 feet on June 5.

It’s anyone’s guess on how much more water will evaporate this summer. If it remains cloudy with high humidity, the lake won’t lose much but if it’s dry and sunny, it could lose a lot.

“There’s a lot of variability on how evaporation there is during the summer,” Blanchard said.

He also said the biggest evaporation events happen in the fall when the water temperature is warmer than the air temperature.

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