April will definitely start out on a warm note, with a big ridge of high pressure giving us sunny skies and high temperatures that could hit 70 degrees Friday at the Reno airport. While a few clouds will cross the region over the weekend, conditions should remain dry and temperatures should still top out in the low 70s before dropping back a bit on Monday as a weak cold front brings some clouds and highs in the 60s.

Spring flooding

How does our healthy snowpack figure into the odds of flooding this spring? It seems simple enough… you pile up a lot of snow, melt it off real fast, and you get flooding. But interestingly enough here, the amount of snowpack usually doesn’t play a huge role in the likelihood of floods. Widespread flooding almost always needs to be accompanied by a very wet (and preferably warm) storm system. A warm rain can release water from the snowpack very quickly (remember 1997?), but even with a healthy snowpack, with minor exceptions, straight spring snowmelt usually stays within the river’s banks. Exceptions can include minor lowland flooding along the Carson and Walker rivers, which doesn’t have the upstream storage to help manage the runoff.

Carson river flooding

High water levels on the Carson River near Carson Hot Springs. Courtesy travelwithpavel.com