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Climate change can potentially flood Lake Tahoe sooner than later

Scientists predict floods ahead for Lake Tahoe
Posted at 11:17 AM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-15 14:17:28-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In California, scientists with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center say climate change could cause Lake Tahoe to flood and it may not take decades to see it happen. Heather Janssen has the story.

Known for its serene skies and lovely lake views, the draw of Tahoe is felt by tourists and locals alike. Lake Tahoe resident reflects that, "It's just a spectacular place."

The water in Lake Tahoe is what leaves a lasting impression but in recent years it’s been battling low lake levels.

"Sometimes the lake is really low. There's a drought - sometimes you can get tons of snow. Every few years one or the other." UC Davis researchers say climate change is making its impact.

Their most recent report looking at the lake says intense heat could make it more likely for the area to see more rain than the snow we're used to.

Another Lake Tahoe resident confirms their report by observing, "We have been having some warmer winters."

The study says because of climate change streams may fill fast, snowpack would melt, and levels could rise by as much as ten inches a day.

Dr. Geoff Schladow, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, explains the meaning of this: "Meaning we're going to get unprecedented flow rates in the streams."

Dr. Schladow says there's no time frame on when this could happen, too. "As time goes by the likelihood of it increases - but it could happen 6 months from now. And that's the frightening part."

A battle of the elements - and mother nature leaving her legacy on the lake.