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Tahoe Nugget #53:

Truckee Ranks as Snowiest City in USA (3 photographs)
March 2, 2006

In keeping with the familiar weather proverb, the month of March roared in like a lion this year. At first heavy rain threatened to flood portions of western Nevada (again), which was quickly followed by colder storms that dumped several feet of snow at the higher elevations. Fresh powder mantled the landscape just in time to revitalize the winter scenery for the annual North Lake Tahoe Snow Festival.

A powerful storm on February 27 and 28, 2005 unleashed torrential rain on the Tahoe-Truckee region, which sparked Truckee and Carson river flood warnings by the National Weather Service. Nearly five inches of rain lashed Ward Mountain near the Alpine Meadows ski area; wind gusts there peaked at 162 mph on Feb. 28. Runoff from the Sierra Nevada engorged local streams and rivers which forced some of the same western Nevada businesses and residences that suffered damage in the $18 million New Years flood of 2005 to once again protect themselves with piled sandbags. Fortunately, snow levels lowered in time before the Truckee River overflowed its banks.

The fact that Truckee is frequently the nation's coldest location is a considered tongue-in-cheek joke among locals because those relatively low temperatures usually occur from late spring through early fall. (More on this in a future Nugget.) The town now has another meteorological claim to fame that locals can boast about. In the book, "Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record book," author Christopher C. Burt ranks Truckee as the snowiest city in the United States. Truckee's annual average snowfall of 203 inches nosed out second place Marquette, Michigan's 180 inches, and handily superseded the 173 inches recorded at third place Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Testament to the climatic extremes found in the West, one of the snowiest regions in the U.S. is located between sun-drenched California and bone-dry Nevada.

Photo #1: 25-foot snow berm in April 1982 near Truckee, California
Photo #2: Snow in Truckee blocks traffic to California in 1926
Photo #3: California fields a proud army of men and women to fight Sierra snowstorms

Nugget #53 A 1982 April berm volkswagon001-01

Nugget #53 B 1926 Truckee traffic snow002-01

Nugget #53 C Sierra snowfighters sign 600

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