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Tahoe Nugget #94:

Sierra Gold
October 2, 2006

The first snow-producing storm of the 2007 water year will impact the Sierra this week. At this time, the NWS is only expecting a few inches of snow in the Tahoe high country. In the West, precipitation (rain combined with melted snow) is usually measured in water years as opposed to calendar years. In the Sierra, the water year runs from October 1 to September 30. In the mountains, where virtually all precipitation occurs between November 1 and May 1, it makes more sense to measure annual precipitation by season, rather than by calendar year. So, the rain that fell here at Tahoe last night will be included in the 2007 WY that won't end until the end of next September.

The 2006 water year produced nearly 91 inches of precipitation near Donner Pass; total snowfall there was more than 42 feet. The seven and a half feet of water that soaked the region last winter ranks as the 4th wettest for the Summit area. Rain and snow measurements in the Donner Summit area go back to 1879 when Southern Pacific Railroad employees recorded them at each station across the Sierra snowbelt.

This week's storm will probably strip the leaves off many of the aspen trees in the higher terrain, but those growing in lower, more protected areas might keep their color going for another two, maybe three weeks.

Photo #1: Monitor Pass on the way to Highway 395 from Lake Tahoe

Photo #2: Old horse corral just east of Tahoe City

Photo #3: Lundy Lake sits in a spectacular canyon

Photo #4: Aspen Trees reaching for the sky

Photo #5: Sierra gold near Sabrina Lake west of Bishop, California

Nugget 94 A Aspen corral Tahoe City

Nugget 94 B Monitor Pass

Nugget 94 C Lundy Lake aspen colors001-01

Nugget 94 D aspen tree trunks

Nugget 94 E Sabrina Lake aspens copy


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