Happy New Year! We will certainly start 2016 off on a cold note. Midnight temperatures in Reno tonight will ne near 20 degrees, and an east wind will push wind chills down into the low teens. A weak low pressure center backing in from the east will keep our high temperatures well below the freezing level through Saturday and will allow our lows to drop into the low teens to single digit range. The next Pacific storm system will try to move into the region late Sunday, but will likely split and weaken before it gets to our area. It does open the door to more storms next week.
So why is our weather on this side of the country usually the opposite of the other? First, you have to look at what brings warm and cold temperatures to an area. Although it’s a gross simplification, you will typically get cold air with a trough of low pressure, and warm air with a ridge of high pressure. The deeper the trough (the lower the pressure), the colder it is, and vice versa for the high (the higher the high, the warmer the air… kind of sounds like a song.)
Now think about how the wind flows around the globe at our latitudes. Chew on that, and I’ll finish up tomorrow.