The California county south of Tahoe receives 2.2 inches of rain per hour

Written by Javed Iqbal

Thunderstorms hit part of the Sierra Nevada to the east Lake Tahoestretching from Reno to California‘s Alpine County this week is delivering heavy rain, flooding roads and triggering mudslides, the National Weather Service said.

“We typically see a push of monsoonal moisture every summer, and it varies from year to year in how long the surge is and how strong it is,” said Wendell Hohmann, a forecaster with weather the service’s Reno office. “This year came a little late. We were pretty dry up until mid-July and then a door finally opened to let it in.

The thunderstorms struck as monsoonal moisture from the desert southwest climbed north into California and Nevada.

A gauge in Alpine County’s Markleeville, 30 miles southeast of South Lake Tahoe, recorded 2.49 inches of rain in 90 minutes Wednesday. “It was 2.2 inches in 60 minutes — that’s how intense it was,” Hohmann said. On Thursday, Monitor Pass measured 0.8 inches of rain Thursday, he said.

Debris flows crossed Hot Springs Road and piled large boulders onto the road, Grover Hot Springs State Park and California Highway Patrol employees said Wednesday.

Highway 89 in the Markleeville area of ​​Alpine County is closed due to severe flooding, Caltrans said.

Highway 89 in the Markleeville area of ​​Alpine County is closed due to severe flooding, Caltrans said.


The Tamarack fire burned through the Markleeville area in 2021, and Wednesday the weather service issued an acute flood for the burn scar, followed by a flood warning Thursday.

“This is an especially dangerous situation! Seek higher ground now,” the weather service said Wednesday.

Highway 89 from Turtle Rock to Markleeville is closed with no estimated time to reopen due to mud and debris flows that washed out part of the road, officials said. State Route 4 to Turtle Rock Park is also closed due to a mudslide.

The Tahoe area was not hit by heavy rain, but Hohmann said thunderstorms are possible Friday.

Reno Airport reported 1.22 inches of precipitation from a severe thunderstorm between 19.45 and 20.45 Wednesday, the says the weather service. This is more rain than the airport has seen in the last seven months.

“Prior to Wednesday, the airport had only seen 0.74 inches from Jan. 1 all the way through Tuesday,” Hohmann said.

The official airport gauge recorded another 0.24 inches Thursday, though Hohmann said another gauge at the south end of the runway had an inch of rain.

The weather service issued more flood watches for the Reno area on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Reno Fire Department on Wednesday said some it saved some motorists from flooded roads on Wednesday.

More thunderstorms are in the forecast for the Reno area Friday, and the flood watch remains in effect.

A monsoon refers to a seasonal reversal of wind patterns over a region. The summer monsoon is associated with an increase in thunderstorm activity; in North America, the wind draws moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and transports it into the southwestern United States

The summer monsoon is a typical weather pattern that is most pronounced in the interior southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico. Sometimes the moisture pushes north into California, the weather service said.

When monsoon moisture flows into Northern California, lightning is usually more common in the Sierra Nevada than along the coast due to the mountains’ lack of a sea layer and its topography. The air mass is forced to lift, which strengthens the thunderstorms, the weather service says.

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Javed Iqbal

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