February was warm, wet, across Nevada

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RENO - Thursday's showers may be a preview of what is coming this weekend.

Rain or snow is predicted to roll in again Saturday night and continue through Sunday.

This week's wet weather is a continuation of February's, which felt more like spring than the middle of winter across much of Nevada, where temperatures around the state averaged above normal and wet storms brought an abundance of moisture.

State Climatologist John James said the six months from September through February have been among the warmest on record.

''Most locations had temperature departures of 3 to 5 degrees above normal last month,'' James said Thursday. ''February was also a very wet month in most areas, with generally two-to-three times normal amounts of precipitation.''

Reno was the exception as far as precipitation is concerned, picking up 0.98 inches of moisture, which is just about normal for the month, James said. The temperature for the month averaged 41.6 degrees, or 3.6 degrees above normal.

On Feb. 10, a 140-day dry spell was broken in Las Vegas when the city recorded its first measurable precipitation since Sept. 22, James said. The dry streak fell 10 days short of the longest dry spell recorded in 1959, he said.

But once the rain began, Southern Nevada was drenched by a series of storms from the Pacific. In all, Las Vegas picked up 1.59 inches of moisture last month, more than three times normal amounts. It was the city's sixth wettest February on record, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature in Las Vegas averaged 53.6 degrees, up 2.5 degrees from normal.

Elko, Winnemucca and Ely were also warmer and wetter than normal last month, James said.

Elko's average temperature of 36.1 degrees was 4.6 degrees above normal, while Winnemucca's 39.3 degree average was 3.4 degrees above normal.

Ely's 33.5 degrees was 4 degrees warmer than usual. It was one of the few February's on record when the mercury failed to dip below zero in Ely, James said.

Precipitation in Winnemucca, Ely and Elko for the month ranged from two and one-half to nearly three times normal, James said.

In extreme western Nevada, a parade of storms brought a dramatic turn around for the snowpack in the Sierra, where in early January the water content of the snow was less than a quarter of what it is during an average season.

But latest surveys taken this week showed the snowpack around the Lake Tahoe region at about 110 percent of normal, making this the sixth wet winter in a row in the Sierra.


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