January warm across state; wet in the north after slow start
RENO, Nev. – January was a mixed weather bag in Nevada – unseasonably warm statewide, dry in the south and wet in the north, state Climatologist John James said.
Temperatures for the month averaged from 4 degrees to 7 degrees above normal statewide, and several locations checked in with near-record warmth.
”Reno was almost 6 degrees above normal to qualify as the fifth-warmest January in 112 years of records,” James said on Tuesday. ”Las Vegas was also about 6 degrees above normal for the second warmest January in a 65-year-long airport record.”
In Las Vegas, last month was second only to January 1986, he said.
Northeast Nevada was also on the warm side in January, with average temperatures hitting 5 degrees above normal in Elko, 6.3 degrees above normal in Ely and nearly 4 degrees above normal in Winnemucca, according to the National Weather Service.
Precipitation wise, January got off to slow start all across the state. But while southern Nevada picked up only a trace, if that, of precipitation all month, much of the north made up for lost time with hefty amounts.
Reno received 2.14 inches of precipitation last month, twice the normal amount, while Elko received 1.47 inches, or 1.5 times normal levels, James said.
Ely reported 0.62 of an inch, less than a tenth of an inch below normal, and Winnemucca registered 1.31 inches, or about one half-inch above the norm.
Much of the precipitation in the north fell in the last half of the month.
In western Nevada, a series of huge snow storms started to pummel the Sierra over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The storms have continued, with some Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts reporting up to 10 feet of snow.
The welcomed storm clouds followed the seventh driest December in the Sierra in 80 years and did wonders to boost the snowpack that is critical to summer water supplies.
In early January, the Sierra snowpack was only about 20 percent of normal. By the end of the month, it was close to 80 percent.