Record year for moisture in Northern Nevada
November 28, 2017
Much of Northern Nevada set a record for precipitation this past water year, more than doubling the average in some areas.
At the Reno weather station, where data has been continuously collected since the late 1800s, 15.95 inches in liquid equivalent (rain and snow combined) was recorded. The average is 7.5 inches.
Minden, where data goes back to 1906, recorded 21.03 inches last year compared with an average of 9 inches.
Daily data is collected for the National Weather Service by volunteers and, unfortunately, Carson City doesn't have complete data for the year.
"But the bottom line for you guys in Carson City is Carson City probably broke records, too," said Chris Smallcomb, meteorologist in NWS's Reno office.
In the western United States, data is collected and compared based on the water year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, a more scientific approach which captures the winter season rather than splitting it in half, said Smallcomb.
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Smallcomb said records for snowpack were set at 8,000 feet or higher elevations while the records below reflected a mix of a snow and rain because the storms were fairly warm throughout the season.
So what's ahead for the current water year?
"We don't have a clue what's coming this winter," said Smallcomb.
He said the key events to look out for are atmospheric rivers coming off the Pacific Ocean, which can be projected five to 10 days out.
Smallcomb also cautions due to the previous record-breaking year and recent rains, the ground is saturated and flooding would occur more easily now.
"It would not take as serious a storm to cause flooding," he said.
Smallcomb suggests property owners be vigilant about keeping gutters and drains clean to help prevent or lessen flooding.
Carson City may see a dusting of snow this coming Sunday and Monday, but that's about it for the next couple weeks.
"It's looking pretty quiet," said Smallcomb. "There is an inversion pattern for this week and next."