The Tahoe region has now surpassed its snowiest December ever with snowfall totals measuring in at 193.7 inches for the month, surpassing the previous record of 179 inches in 1970. With more snow in the forecast, that new record could surpass 200 inches.
The new record was announced by the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab:
The massive snowfall began with a light storm in the first week of December, which was followed by a stormy second week bringing 100+ inches to the Sierra. The coup de grace was this current Christmas storm which surpassed its forecast and is approaching 120 inches for the week.
Following a year of abysmal snowfall in the Sierra, Lake Tahoe reached its natural brim this summer, an indication of extreme drought in the region. After the drought plagued summer, scientists estimated the mountains would need a historic 800 inches of snow to bring the lake up to its regular water levels. Based on the December snowfall, it actually might be possible to reach that number.
That amount of snow is significant for December, but not for the area as a whole. In fact, Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe) smashed their monthly record for snowfall in February 2019 with more than 300 inches. That same month, Homewood received 336 inches, or approximately a foot of snow a day for the entire month.
There is still a lot of work to be done to deliver Northern California out of drought, refill our waterways and ensure a limited fire season in 2022. But a historic December is one heck of a way to get started.