As lake levels rise Lake Tahoe’s shorelines take on new shapes and beachgoers are crammed into smaller and smaller spaces. Lake Tahoe is the fullest its been in almost 20 years and it’s quickly cresting on its maximum depth. A stormy winter has deposited enough snowmelt to potentially last through three summers of drought. The lake level has risen 8ft since the beginning of 2016 when it hit a low point during California’s five-year drought.
The Union reports that for the past three weeks Tahoe has been within an inch of its maximum allowed surface elevation of 6,229.1 feet above sea level and has come within a half-inch earlier this week. Federal water master in Reno Chad Blanchard had this to say about the lake levels:
“This is a rare year. I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and we’ve had big (snow) years, but this one is unique as far as being up within an inch of being full and it’s just hanging there … It’s a product of still having so much snow up there.”
Summer 2019 will be the third time in the past three years that the lake has come up to the edge of its legal limit. That previously happened in 1998, 1999 and 2000. For all of us who remember how low levels got in 2016 this is great news even if we have to be a little more strategic where we lay out our towels when we hit the beach.