Tahoe Country

"Storms 97"

Batter the West Shore

Winter 1997 began with a bang! From December 21st to January 6th, we had 10.8 feet of snow and 18.6 inches of rain at lake level on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. This was followed by 10 days of temperatures of lows from 4-18 degree lows and 14-43 degree highs. Many West Shore residents were blocked at work or at friends and tourists were blocked at small cabins without heat or food. Blackwood Creek overflowed, flooding Tahoe Pines. Madden, McKinney and Meeks Creeks also overflowed. Electricity was out and if you could get to a grocery store, they were only open during daylight hours and rang up the sales by hand. After more snow and rain, we ended January at 178% normal snowfall for the season and 139% rainfall.

The second major surprise came in February with record high winds (up to 56 mph at lake level) meeting high lake levels not seen since 1907, equaling 7 feet above the natural rim and 1 foot above legal limit. The already weakened piers from January's storms were battered to destruction. The old good thing to come out of these storms was the "Old Timers" weren't saying the usual "Well, that's nothing, you should have seen....", since they weren't around in 1907!

Photos by Roz Mitchell, Scott Braun, and Paul Bartmettler - used with permission

© Tahoe Country 1996