Triple-digit temperatures that have baked the Lahontan Valley for the past five days broke longtime records going as far back as 90 years, reports the National Weather Service’s Reno office.
Although this area is not unaccustomed to hot weather in late June or early July, the spike in temperatures occurred quickly considering 10 days ago Fallon experienced early spring conditions.
Tuesday’s high of 106 degree broke the high of 103 set in 1967, said Meteorologist Edan Lindaman of the NWS. Monday’s 108 snapped another 1967 record when 103 was recorded. The weekend didn’t fare much better. Fallon had two consecutive days of 104 degrees, breaking Friday’s record of 102 set in 1957 and Saturday’s 100 set in 1924. Fallon’s previous record high of 102 recorded in 1967 yielded to Sunday’s 106.
Lindaman said the West has been affected by a high pressure ridge that has caused temperatures to soar, causing many communities from California and Arizona to Montana to break records. She said Fallon will also see triple-digit highs today and Thursday with the area “cooling” down to the high 90s on Friday.
Flight training at Naval Air Station Fallon has not been affected by the heat. Zip Upham, public affairs officers, said the air station experiences very little flying near the Fourth of July holiday.
The good news, though, will be a drop in temperatures to the mid to high 90s by the end of the week. Lindaman said the ridge will experience a breakdown, which will allow many areas to return to normal daytime highs.
“The average normal summer pattern shows highs in the 90s,” she added.
In the meantime, Fallon and Fernley residents will also feel the remnants of a tropical storm that moved over the Great Basin earlier this week. Because of the intense heat, Lindaman said the area will experience the chance of afternoon thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds, rain or hail through Thursday. The probability of thunderstorms and moderate to heavy rains ranges from 20-40 percent.
”If the dew point is 50 or higher during the summer, there’s a concern about heavy rains or thunderstorms,” Lindaman said.
The rise in temperatures had people scrambling to local stores to buy air conditioners, fans or swamp coolers.
“We had a real run on swamp cooler parts, and wading pools …. anything you could put water in,” said Bret Rogers, general manager of Big R. “The weather has been really funny.”
Rogers said customers have been buying swamp coolers and air conditioners. He said the evaporative units will only cool the air between 15-20 degrees, while an air conditioner works better in extreme heat but costs more to operate.
Louie’s Home Center has also reported brisk sales for air conditioning window units.
“We have more coming in,” said Cal Bushek, general manager.
He also said customers were buying fans.
“This heat wave drove up business in a hurry,” Bushek said. “I am amazed how weather sensitive our business is.”
Walmart was not available for comment.
Others, though, are trying to beat the heat at the local swimming pools.
“Our numbers have definitely climbed as well,” said Kristy Bekiares, aquatic supervisor for the Churchill County pool. “ I would say our open swims have doubled, especially in the evenings requiring more staff to handle the increase in patronage. The heat is sure having an effect on where people want to spend their leisure time.
“Jump in and cool off” is our motto this summer. Also, we’ve had an amazing increase in participation in water exercise classes.”
Since the warmer weather settled in the valley, the city of Fallon pool is reporting an increase in the number of swimmers. According to pool figures, Saturday was a busy day as more than 400 patrons cooled off in the water. More than 300 people used the pool on Friday, Sunday and Monday.