While it may still be premature, the weather going into Thanksgiving weekend is starting to look very wintry. In the short term, the next several days should be relatively warm and dry, with variable amounts of cloudiness through Sunday. Light winds will allow our air quality to degrade a bit, and a Yellow Light Burn Code (voluntary cutbacks) is in effect.

As we head into next week, a very cold low pressure system will move into the region bringing a chance of rain turning to snow perhaps as early as Tuesday. While the timing and amount of snow is still uncertain, much colder temperatures are almost a sure bet. Single digit lows could greet you on Turkey Day.

rain shadow 1

Yesterday I mentioned that when air goes up, precipitation likely occurs. The lift provided by the Sierra from the dominant westerly winds is the reason that you get more precipitation at the top of the mountains than you get in San Francisco right next to the ocean.

While lift on the windward side of the mountains enhances precipitation, the opposite happens on our side of the hills. Falling air warms, evaporates (clouds), and clears. If you are on the lee side of mountains like we are here in western Nevada, it greatly reduces the amount of precipitation you receive. That’s why we live in a desert.