Lake Tahoe’s water level fell to 6,222.5 feet on October 12 or 6 inches below the elevation where water can flow to the Truckee River. Lake Tahoe is the bellwether of the Truckee River. When Tahoe doesn’t have any water to provide to the river, you can bet that the other tributaries are suffering from dry conditions, too. That is certainly the case in 2016 as it was in 2015 and 2014.
It is too early to tell whether this winter will provide snow and rain that breaks the drought, but the winter of 2015-16 was no drought breaker despite the improved river flow this past spring and early summer. Partly that was due to the extremely dry winters that preceded last winter’s average to slightly below average precipitation and snowpack.
Today and the following 3 days are bringing in some of the first winter weather for the fall. Warm conditions will return following the series of storms, however. Will these storms be a harbinger of a winter of snow and rain to come? We can only hope.