Lake Tahoe nearing capacity after historic rise

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TAHOE CITY, Calif. (KOLO) -- Visitors to Lake Tahoe this weekend will notice the lake nearing max capacity for the first time in more than a decade.

Lake Tahoe - Gray Media

“We have not been at capacity or we have not been this high since 2006," said Chad Blanchard, Federal Water Master.

Currently, Tahoe is just two inches from full. That's six and a half feet higher than where it was last October at the start of the water year.

"We have seen the largest physical rise in history, but we have also seen the largest total inflow in history," said Blanchard.

Since the melt started, a lot of water has been released from the lake. If you couple that amount of water with the water still in the lake, Tahoe went up by 9.3 feet. That is equivalent two feet more inflow than has ever before been recorded in one year.

"It is not just exceeding a record, it is destroying an old record," said Blanchard.

Two factors came together to allow for the historic rise.

"We were the max inflow and rise in the winter, and right up there with the max because of the snowmelt in the spring. So the combination of the both has just created this spectacular year," said Blanchard.

With the lake now full water managers can rest easy knowing it will take several years to deplete the reservoir.