SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, California. – Lake Tahoe saw record snowfall in December. Now January is also experiencing historic weather, but for different reasons. January 2022 is planned to be the 5th driest January in more than 50 years.
“The east side of the basin to Mammoth has had little snow or rain, but the Snow Lab at Donner Summit recorded more than 1 inch of rain and 9 inches of snow in the first week of January,” said Bryan Allegretto, Forecaster, OpenSnow .
As of January 27, the Basin average rainfall is 1.5 inches. Records go as far back as 1970, since then 2014-15 was the driest year with only .35 inches of rainfall received.
1983-84 saw 1 inch, 1990-91 saw 1.02 inch and 2012-13 got 1.34 inch.
Nevada Natural Resources Conservation Service has a more grim outlook.
“Based on SNOTEL cut-off data for the 11 SNOTEL sites in the Lake Tahoe Basin, this January is the driest since SNOTEL records began in 1981,” said Jeff Anderson, NCRS Snow Survey. “This assumes we will not get rain for the rest of the month”
The chance of more snow before the end of the month does not seem likely.
“Blocking high pressure is likely to keep dry and generally calm weather until the end of January. Low pressure and a cold front will bring increased winds and cooler temperatures before early February, but the storm path seems less favorable for bringing significant precipitation to the Sierra or western Nevada, “said a national weather report.
The entire state of California has suffered from the lack of rainfall. US Drafted Monitor shows the Tahoe region as experiencing moderate drought and most of the state as experiencing severe drought.
“Unfortunately for those of us who are patiently waiting for snowfall to return to the Sierra in 2022, it may take a while longer. A high pressure ridge is expected to strengthen along the west coast in the first week of February with week 2 perspective of the Climate Prediction Center now in addition to below-normal precipitation by at least the first 9 days of February, “the report added.
Fortunately, due to the historic snowfall in December, the Basin still has snow on the mountains.
“December was so big that at the end of January we are still at 148% of the average snowfall, even without snow anymore. Today’s snowfall is at 102% of the average for the date, “said Allegretto.
Anderson gives no hope for more snow. He pointed out that 1991, which also had a dry January, saw snow later in the season.
As for the snow package (measured by a snow cushion other than a rainfall meter), it is interesting that 1991 had a HUGE miracle in March. ) to 77% of median on April 1, “Anderson said. “On the other hand, 2015 [the driest January on record] ended with the lowest snowfall of April 1 on record at only 9% of median.
So, now is the time to pray harder than ever for snow.
Laney Griffo is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daliy Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at [email protected]