Tahoe sets new December snowfall record with nearly 18 feet of powder
This story has been updated to correct the snow lab's elevation.
Almost 18 feet of snow fell in North Tahoe during December, more than any other December in the past 142 years.
Located at Donner Pass, U.C. Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab reported a whopping 214 inches of snow through the month.
On Dec. 27, the lab recorded 193.7 inches of snow, breaking the previous record of 179 inches set in 1970. An additional 20-plus inches fell between Dec. 27 and 31, cementing 2021 in the history books for the snowiest December on record.
The lab is reporting 242 percent of the average snowfall for early January for the 2021-2022 water year, which started Oct. 1.
The snow lab sits at an elevation of 6,894 feet and maintains one of the longest-running snow depth records in the world. Scientists have manually measured snowfall there since 1879.
During the lab’s first year, scientists recorded 37.07 feet of snow. The following year, 1880, saw 65.26 feet.
The highest snow years measured at the site were 1938, when 68.25 feet was measured, and 1952, with 67.65 feet. The years 1881, 2015 and 2020 were the lowest, each measuring less than 15 feet of snow.
Amy Alonzo covers the outdoors, recreation and environment for Nevada and Lake Tahoe. Reach her at email@example.com. Here's how you can support ongoing coverage and local journalism.