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Tahoe Winter Update
January 17, 2009

Despite a cool start, 2008 was California's eleventh warmest in the 113 years of record. After a very dry and warm October and November, December brought below zero temperatures and nearly 13 feet of snow during the second half of the month.

But since the New Year, it's been bone dry at Lake Tahoe and very warm. With low sun angles and cold nights the skiing has been good on the groomed corduroy runs at the resorts, but off trail and backcountry conditions are sketchy.

Despite a very dry fall season, the big storms in December boosted the water content in the Sierra snowpack to 83 percent of normal. January is statistically the wettest month of winter, but with the month more than half over sunny days and near record to record warm temperatures have seriously reduced the snowpack and water content has dropped to 68 percent for the date.

The spring-like weather conditions have been good for winter sports, traveling and reducing energy consumption, but skiers and hydrologists are starting to worry. The snow cover is getting thin at the resorts and California reservoirs are down from two dry winters.

With about half of the winter precipitation season over at this point, the months from February to May will have to produce double the average precipitation to provide California with a normal water year, a very unlikely scenario.

I spent the last five days skiing at Homewood Mountain Resort on the West Shore. Homewood is definitely not the biggest and baddest of Tahoe resorts, but the views are killer.

Tahoe Nuggets are now archived at www.thestormking.com

Photo #1: California appears to be warming up.
Photo #2: You've got to ski the top to enjoy Homewood.
Photo #3: Stunning views of Tahoe in a peaceful mood.
Photo #4: Looking southeast toward Heavenly Valley. 
Photo #5: Waiting for more snow.  
Photo #6: Skier picking his way down some bumps.
Photo #7: A world class lake.
Photo #8: Snowboarders taking a break.

Nugget #161 A California Avg Temp Graph02

Nugget #161 B Homewood Resort Map02

Nugget #161 C High Pressure Dead Calm_edited-102

Nugget #161 D View of Heavenly Valley South Shore02

Nugget #161 E Signs of the Times02

Nugget #161 F Working down the moguls02

Nugget #161 G Drop into the Drink!02

Nugget #161 H Snowboarders taking a break02

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