Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Froze Fully Over for the First Time in 30 Years
This is one of the area's snowiest and most extreme winters on record.
Winter is currently in full effect in California. With temperatures dropping and storms doing the rounds in the region, areas such as Lake Tahoe are being covered with many, many, many inches of snow. Others, instead, are newly frozen over entirely.
Lake Tahoe's iconic Emerald Bay, which is located about 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, recently completely turned into a sheet of ice. This is a pretty rare occurrence, and the body of water hasn't reportedly frozen over for more than 20 years, with the last event of the kind dated back to 1993, one park official told SFGate.
Emerald Bay partially freezing isn't huge news. What's uncommon, though, is for it to completely freeze. Very cold weather definitely helped in the endeavor, and according to the National Weather Service, below-freezing temperatures (at times, near or at single digits) and wind chill hit the Emerald Bay area last week.
If you're already thinking about tying up your ice skates, you'd better hold that thought. The ice is barely 6 inches thick, which is way too thin for people to walk on, let alone skate, SFGate reports.
It's also just best to postpone your Emerald Bay visit to the future. The State Park is currently partially closed due to a winter storm warning, and in addition to heavy snow, there is also an alert for flooding in place.
Emerald Bay's icy conditions are only the tip of a much bigger iceberg currently affecting California. Due to the severe weather conditions, the National Weather Service recently extended its winter storm warning in the Greater Lake Tahoe Area until 5 pm (PDT) on Wednesday.
The Lake Tahoe area has been getting huge amounts of snow and rain, which has been causing problems for both residents and businesses, including structural collapses and fires, among others. According to the warning, the heaviest snow overall is expected to fall on Tuesday, but some areas have already witnessed incredible snowfall. As of Saturday morning, 52 (!) feet of snow had covered the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab atop Donner Summit, which granted it the title of fourth-highest total for a season since the lab was created in 1946, the Mercury News reports.
Those planning to travel to the area should know that it won't likely be a seamless experience. Up until at least the end of the winter storm warning on Wednesday, long delays over mountain passes are expected, as well as a few possible road closures.
"Travel could be very difficult to impossible at times," reads the warning. "Snow loading on structures will increase due to the additional rain and snow being absorbed into the deep snowpack, along with higher risks for dangerous roofalanches."