Snow on the Memorial Day weekend at Fallen Leaf Lake, near Lake Tahoe, May 29, 2011. (Todd Silliman)

Yes, the pools opened. OK, the kids started swim practice. Yep, it was scorching hot for the Memorial Day BBQ. The garden is already wilting under the heat, a bit early this year. It snowed almost six inches. Wait a minute! The guy from San Francisco with his cabin near Lake Tahoe just derailed the concall’s small talk. It’s the start of summer and he’s talking snow?

For a moment it doesn’t make sense. Then he sends us a photo from his cabin that he took a couple of days earlier. It’s absolutely beautiful, a stark contrast to Washington’s Memorial Day weather. His photo shows a snow event that may have ranked number two for the entire 2010-11 winter at Reagan National Airport. But, for the Lake Tahoe region of California, it was just a minor, late season snowfall to add to the record season of snow which actually hurt the ski season because of too much snow.

Read below to see what the same scene looked like the weekend before Memorial Day.

The scene at Fallen Leaf Lake on May 22, 2011. (Todd Silliman)

Fallen Leaf Lake is at 6,400 feet of elevation. During the winter, snow can accumulate six-to-ten feet. This statement from the May 15, 2011 newsletter of the Fallen Leaf Lake Homeowner’s Assocation summarizes this season’s snow situation:

“We had more snow at Fallen Leaf this year than during any of the last twenty five or even thirty years. It was also a cooler winter than normal so the snow did not immediately start melting, but stayed on the ground and accumulated. Many cabins had snow up to their roofs. We were also lucky that the meteorological conditions were such as to keep the snow light and powdery so its weight caused little damage to roofs, decks or railings. Much of the snow has now sublimed or melted and some roads and decks are now clear, but those areas that receive little or no sunshine are still under several feet of snow and access to some cabins will be difficult until sometime in June.”

Note, as I am writing this entry on June 1, it is currently snowing at Lake Tahoe with a temperature of 32 and a dewpoint of 27. That is quite a contrast to the record-breaking high temperature of 98 at Reagon National Airport.

So here’s a question to you DC snow lovers: Can the Lake Tahoe region keep their summer snow or could you handle a short snow break during our hot and humid summers?