Lake Tahoe water level falling below the basin rim

The water level in Lake Tahoe is falling at an alarming rate.

This week, the lake's water level is expected to drop below its natural rim which is just over 6,200 feet in elevation. The rim is the level at which water from the lake flows into the Truckee River. If the lake is below the rim, then the river is deprived of water.

It has fallen this low four times since 2004.

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Researchers and conservationists say it is due mostly to the shortage of snowpack in the surrounding Sierra mountains.

It marks another extreme swing for Tahoe amid historic drought, wildfires, and erratic weather, all intertwined with climate change and becoming more prominent aspects of the alpine environment, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tahoe's famous water clarity also remains an issue after last month's Caldor fire due to ash settling in the alpine lake.