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Northern Nevada in dry spell; drought may loom

by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

While snow falling in Carson Valley during the last weeks of December can’t always be interpreted as a white Christmas, it has happened often enough in the last decade that folks have come to expect it.

Valley residents have had a streak of white Christmas times over the last five years, with 2005 being the last truly brown year until this one.

This year, the last real precipitation occurred on Oct. 5, when an inch of rain fell in Sheridan Acres and snow fell in the Valley on Oct. 6.

Minden weather watcher Stan Kapler said the last moisture in the county seat occurred on Nov. 4 when a quarter-inch of snow fell, leaving .06 inches of moisture.

Both November and December have been dry compared to previous years.

Dry, windy weather brought late wildfires to the Valley on the week before Thanksgiving, with firefighters noting that only the temperature differentiated the weather from that during a summer red-flag warning, during which fires are prohibited.

The weather’s been so dry, weather experts have been suggesting that residents water plants.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released last week indicates northwestern Nevada is in a short-term, abnormally dry period, and says that drought development is likely in the area.

La Nina is elevating the chances for drought across the Southwest and extending the dryness north into the southern Sierra due to a lack of early winter snowfall.