With light southerly flow coming around a large high pressure center in the central US, we are finally pulling up some of the monsoonal flow out of Arizona. This will result in mainly afternoon thunderstorms across northern Nevada for at least one more day. Considerable cloudiness Tuesday will keep our high temperatures in the low 90s, and as we go through the week the focus of thunderstorms will shift to the east, with mostly sunny skies returning to western Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area.
We live in one of the breeziest places in the country… and in the summer, you can almost count on the wind kicking up in the afternoons. The “Washoe Zephyr” that you may have heard about is our local moniker given to the late afternoon thermal winds that swoop through our western valleys. What causes them?
It’s all due to differential heating. In the late hours of the day, the sun drops lower into the western sky. That causes its rays to directly hit the hills on the east side of the valley, heating them up… while the hills on the western side fall into shadow and cool. The warm air on the eastern side rises, while the cooler west air sinks, and you have a conveyor belt effect that sweeps winds out of the west to the east.