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Snowmelt pushes Lake Tahoe water level to near legal limit

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Posted at 8:47 AM, Jul 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 11:47:39-04

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Lake Tahoe is the fullest it's been in nearly two decades.

The water stored in the alpine lake is approaching the legal limit after snowmelt from a stormy winter left behind enough to potentially last through up to three summers of drought.

Tahoe has been within an inch (25 millimeters) of its maximum allowed surface elevation of 6,229.1 feet (1,898 meters) above sea level for more than three weeks. It crept to within a half-inch (13 millimeters) earlier this week.

Federal water master Chad Blanchard told the Reno Gazette Journal it's the longest he's seen the lake stay this high for this long.

It's because there's so much snow still melting on the mountain tops.

Blanchard says the lake soon will reach a point of equilibrium when snowmelt slows and the rate of evaporation increases.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com