Washoe Lake, just south of Reno, dried up as a result of the multi-year drought in Nevada and much of the southwestern U.S. Record precipitation over the winter of 2016-2017 filled the lake and then some. The lake is part of Washoe Lake State Park.

Washoe Lake, Washoe Valley, Nevada, NV.

October, 2016. Washoe Lake completely dry. Photo © Stan White

Washoe Lake, Washoe Valley, Nevada, NV.

March, 2017. Washoe Lake full and overflowing. Photo © Stan White

It’s been snowing and raining like crazy this winter. We’re talking about an all-time precipitation record for Reno plus snowfall measured in tens of feet up in the Sierra Nevada. Since the winter water season began on October 1, 2016, Reno recorded 12.74 inches of precipitation as of the end of February, 2017, as measured by the National Weather Service. It has since rained and snowed even more, so the total to date is higher yet. The previous record for a year was 12.72 inches in 1982-1983. The average annual precipitation for Reno is 7.4 inches.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe has received 678 inches of snow this season (that’s 56.5 feet) and leads ski resorts in North America with the most cumulative snowfall this season. Other Tahoe area ski resorts aren’t far behind.

This has all been great for ending the multi-year drought in Nevada and California, but it hasn’t been a smooth transition from parched back to wet. The Reno region (and areas over in California) have endured periods of flooding, damaged roadways, mud and rock slides, avalanches, tough travel and closed highways, and a serious high water crisis at Oroville Dam north of Sacramento.

If you are going to be heading for the mountains this season, check highway conditions and the weather forecast. There’s no point in driving into trouble if you don’t have to.

Carson Pass, Highway 88, California, CA

Snowfall at Carson Pass on Highway 88. Since this photo was taken on March 4, 2017, it has snowed even more. Photo © Stan White

Incoming storm, Washoe Valley

February 21, 2017

Storm clouds, Washoe Valley, Nevada, NV.

Storm clouds roll over the Sierra Nevada. View of Washoe Valley from I580. Photo © Stan White