Western drought continues: Washoe Lake, before and after | SierraSun.com

Western drought continues: Washoe Lake, before and after

Anna Pittenger submitted this photo of two photos of Washoe Lake. The top photo was taken from the gazebo overlooking Washoe Lake in September 2011. The bottom photo was taken Sunday at the gazebo.
Submitted | Submitted

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — This submitted illustration shows two photos of Washoe Lake, located north of Lake Tahoe.

The top photo was taken from the gazebo overlooking Washoe Lake in September 2011, not long after the region enjoyed a massive winter that dumped more than 800 inches of snow at high-elevation areas at Lake Tahoe.

The bottom photo was taken Sunday, as the region endures its fourth-consecutive mild winter and one of the driest Januarys ever.

When full, Washoe Lake is four miles long and two miles wide, pretty much filling the valley between Reno and Carson City.

The news isn’t much better at Lake Tahoe, where the lake’s water level dipped below its natural 6,223-foot rim last fall and was at 6,222.43 feet Tuesday.

The record low for Lake Tahoe occurred in 1992, when the water dropped to 6,220.2 feet above sea level.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, the snow water equivalent on Monday, calculated with more than 100 sensors in the Sierra Nevada, was 4.3 inches, or 27 percent of normal for that date.

Further information on the region’s snowpack will be available after DWR’s second manual snow survey this Thursday.

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