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Tahoe Nugget #225:

Good News from Tahoe!
March 2, 2012

2012 Mar 2 Precip Graph
This graph shows that although this winter is far from over, precipitation in the Northern Sierra is languishing between the two driest winters since the 8-Station Index was established in 1922. 

Back to back storms from the Gulf of Alaska bombarded Tahoe resorts with up to six feet of fresh powder this week. Conditions are the best of the winter right now and ski areas are hoping that business will boom right through the Easter Holiday.

Nugget #225 Restaurant Door  Storm
Tahoe City restaurant needs a good shoveling before opening.

Statistically the months of March and April account for about one quarter of our annual precipitation and nearly 30 percent of our snowfall , so there is still plenty of time to bump up our anemic numbers before winter winds down for good.

Nugget #225 Window Icicles
Winter is back in Tahoe City.  

Powder snow is great for skiers and boarders, but the dry fluff hasn't done much to help ameliorate this winter's precipitation deficit. (See chart.) We're still mired in the bottom 10 percentile of driest winters.

Nugget #225 Watson Cabin
Historic Watson Cabin built in 1909 by Tahoe City's first constable Robert Montgomery Watson. This structure is the oldest in Tahoe City to sit on its original site and was one of the first built with indoor plumbing.

More good news came out this week when the University of California-Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center reported that Tahoe's legendary, but endangered water clarity, improved by more than four feet last year. In 2011, the average depth a 10-inch white disk, called a Secchi dish, remained visible was 68.9 feet, an improvement of about 4.5 feet over 2010.

Nugget #225 Tahoe City Jail
Tahoe City Jail. In 1935, Harry Johanson became Tahoe City's second constable after the death of Robert Watson at age 77. Harry Jo, as he was known, was an accomplished amateur athlete, Hollywood stunt double, former Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, as well as a trained architect. Constable Johanson designed this jail which is located on Commons Beach in Tahoe City. Inmates endured primitive conditions, but each cell offered a view of Lake Tahoe. 

The good news comes with a grain of salt, however, as last year's average was the seventh lowest on record since 1968. In 1968, the Secchi dish could be seen at a depth of more than 102 feet.

Nugget #225 Donner Peak  Snowsheds
Fresh snow puts a wintry look on Donner Peak. The snowshed that hugs the granite face below the peak provided trains protection from avalanches. Central Pacific Railroad built the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad over Donner Pass in the 1860s.

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