Sierra Residents Prepare for Flooding as Atmospheric River Looms

 TRUCKEE -- Lake Tahoe was sending water into the Truckee River at a rate of 1,500 cubic feet per second Thursday.

The minimum release for this time of year is 70 cubic feet per second.

The legal limit for Lake Tahoe levels is 6229 feet. As of Thursday afternoon, water levels were about a foot shy of that.

The rapid release into the Truckee River and other streams is a precaution against an upcoming storm that could bring inches of rain along with snowmelt.

"We expect more runoff to come with the snowpack and storms than we have space for," said Chief Deputy Water Master Dave Wathen.

Because of the incoming storm flooding is expected.

Walking and biking trails along the Truckee River in Tahoe City have already begun to flood. People living in the City of Truckee were able to pick up some sandbags Thursday from the Truckee Fire District Station on Donner Pass Road.

"You are going to see some localized flooding by current channels anywhere that's going to contribute to a river or a lake," said Nick Brown, spokesperson for the Truckee Fire District.

Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said the average amount of rainfall for Sacramento during April is about 1 to 2 inches. However, the upcoming storm, called an atmospheric river, could see 2 to 3 inches in one swoop not only in Sacramento but in the Sierra. Temperatures will be too warm for it to snow under 10,000 feet for the beginning of the storm.