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ARkStorm@Tahoe: Preparing for a major winter storm

February 5, 2015
From CNAP Researcher Dr. Michael Dettinger:
arkstorm_tahoe_coverFor the past year and a half, a series of modeling efforts and public meetings were conducted with literally (yeah, literally) hundreds of community members and agency representatives in the Tahoe-Reno-Carson City area to evaluate  and discuss the dangers and difficulties faced by emergency responders, utilities and resource managers, and environmental interests in the event of a major winter storm in the area. The strategy used in these meetings was a thorough evaluation with the community of the likely consequences and impacts of the USGS’s ARkStorm scenario (Poter et al., USGS OFR 2010-1312, 2011; Dettinger et al., Nat. Haz., 2012) as applies across this region. A new report describes findings from those conversations, and has just been released by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The report can be referenced as:
  Albano, C., D.A. Cox, M.D. Dettinger, K. Schaller, T. Wellborn and M.I. McCarthy, 2014: ARkStorm@Tahoe — Stakeholder perspectives on vulnerabilities and preparedness for an extreme storm event in the greater Lake Tahoe, Reno and Carson City region. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Special Publication-14-16, 48pp.
A pdf file of the report can be obtained at: http://environment.unr.edu/publications/ARkStorm_Final_web.pdf
In the Tahoe-Reno-Carson City study area, modeling of ARkStorm by several different models yielded precipitation totals, and streamflow peaks and rates, roughly 1.5 to 3 times the size of those in the New Years 1997 storms and floods. Temperatures were comparable to that memorable storm, and the ARkStorm sequence yields cold very-snowy conditions for about a week followed by a week of warm rainy conditions, so that flooding was definitely the order of the day. Not surprisingly, the impacts of such an ARkStorm would be severe. Wide-ranging discussions with the community identified many specific consequences and details and interconnections among the impacts.  Serious discussions were begun about how to prepare for, preempt, and recover from the consequences. This report summarizes our
findings from those many discussions.
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