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Rain snow mark turn in season

Jim Scripps

After a long dry summer that turned out to be one of the hottest on record, the winter cold and snow is finally creeping into Northern Nevada’s weather picture.

After Monday’s afternoon and evening drizzle in Carson City and heavy snow showers in Lake Tahoe, forecasters predict weather to clear up starting this afternoon and into the week.

“We have a 20 percent chance of showers in the morning (today), with partly cloudy skies (later today) and Wednesday,” said National Weather Service forecaster Steve Goldstein. “There is no precipitation in the forecast after Tuesday morning.

“We’re not entering a prolonged storm system.”

Goldstein said by Thursday, Northern Nevadans should see some sunshine with temperatures reaching the upper 50s, normal for this time of year. While nighttime temperatures have dipped into the freezing range, that is also expected to turn around. Forecasts call for temperatures in the upper-30s, and daytime temperatures in the upper 50s in the next few days.

Goldstein said 2001 saw a summer season that may have been the hottest on record since 1888 when reliable weather reports were first kept. Sierra ski resorts, most of which plan to open in the next few weeks, were happy to see it come to an end.

“We are shooting to open Nov. 21,” said Heavenly spokeswoman Kristan Eggers. “We got a little bit of snow Saturday night and a little last week and its sticking.”

On Monday afternoon snow was dumping on Heavenly’s South Lake Tahoe peaks, especially above 7,000 feet. Goldstein said some areas of the Lake can expect to see between 12-18 inches of snow, mostly above the 7,000 foot elevation.

Like many of its Sierra counterparts, Heavenly has been producing machine-made snow in large amounts, trying to get ahead of the unpredictable weather.

Diamond Peak, located in Incline Village, is planning to open Dec. 13, while Kirkwood resort, located approximately 1/2-hour south of the lake is more ambitious. With the predicted heavy snow showers and several inches of accumulated base, the resort may open chairs one, five and 11 by this weekend.

“We could be skiing and riding as early as this Saturday, weather permitting,” said Tania Pilkinton, Kirkwood spokeswoman. “We need at least a couple feet of new snow, as well as some snowmaking, to get the lifts open.”