Spring Storm…And A Wild Record (1,307′)

Spring/winter storms are not uncommon this time of year, and we have a pretty typical one heading into the region. The strongest part of the storm will arrive late Wednesday through Thursday morning, with snow levels that will drop from around 7,500’ Wednesday afternoon to around lake level Thursday morning. A Winter Weather Advisory is posted for the mountains Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Snowfall amounts should range between a few inches at the lake to a foot or more on the crests.

In the valley, strong SW winds will shadow out a lot of the precipitation, but some spillover precipitation should occur late Wednesday into Thursday morning. After a break on Friday and Saturday, a slight chance of showers returns later in the day on Easter Sunday.

superman tornado.png

So what meteorological record equals 1,307 feet? All you have to do is ask Matt Suter, and I’m sure he’ll be glad to tell you. Of course at this point, he’s glad to be talking at all.

1,307 feet is the distance that the 19-year-old Suter covered in the air after he was sucked out of his mobile home by a tornado ten years ago. I’ll give you the details tomorrow.


More Storms This Week…And 1,307 feet? (Pt. 1)

While we probably won’t see as strong a storm pattern as we saw last week, we still have some reasonable active weather coming through the region the next several days. A weak storm Tuesday will bring scattered rain and snow showers to the mountains (SL: 6,000-6,500’) with an isolated shower in the valley. After a brief pause Wednesday morning a somewhat stronger storm comes through the region bringing a foot or more snow to the upper levels of the mountains with scattered rain and snow to the valleys. Winds will pick up Tuesday afternoon a bit, gusting to about 30 mph and will increase to gusts in the 40s Wednesday afternoon. Showers of rain and snow continue through Thursday before breaking up by the end of the week.

records broken Reno

Weather aficionados love records. Whether it is the highest wind or the coldest temperature, it is always fun to see an old mark fall. But usually, it is measured in degrees or miles per hour.

But how about 1,307 feet?

Admittedly, that seems to be an odd number when talking about a meteorological benchmark. So just what kind of record in the world of weather amounts to about a quarter of a mile? I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Get more at mikealger.net


Wintry Weekend…And How Powerful is a 100 mph Wind Up Here?

While the danger of flooding has subsided, there is still some punch left in this storm, especially if you are trying to get over the mountains. A Winer Storm Warning is still in effect until Saturday at 5 pm for the mountains around Lake Tahoe, with total storm snow accumulations which could total several feet in some locations on the crests.


In the valleys, colder air will move in dropping snow levels down to the valley floor by Saturday, although it is still unlikely we will see any significant accumulations in the lower valleys. High temperatures will drop to the mid-40s in Reno Saturday, before climbing back up into the 50s on Sunday with clearing skies.

Wind Force

Dan asked: “I’ve often wondered why we don’t get more damage than we do when we get these strong winds. Perhaps the air density at this altitude makes comparable velocities less damaging than at lower altitudes. If that is the case, is there a method to calculate the actual force or perhaps differentiate damage from a 100 mph wind at sea level and at 5000 ft. elevation? Something like “our 100 mph wind is like a 75 mph wind at sea level.”

He’s right… winds up here aren’t as damaging as they are at sea level because the lesser density of air at elevation creates less force against an object for comparable wind speeds. But is there a way to correlate the force of winds at different altitudes? Yes, you can do that. We’ll use his example. We have about 15% less air in Reno than you do in San Francisco, which means that you have 15% fewer air molecules hitting your fence during a 100 mph wind. At first glance, you might think that a 100 mph here is equivalent to an 85 mph wind at sea level. But that’s an easy mistake to make (I’ve made it myself.)

But there’s a problem with that logic. Since force of wind increases exponentially with speed, the math gets a little more complicated. So how strong a wind at sea level would equal the force of a 100 mph wind at our elevation?


The formula for force of a wind is: Force (lbs/square foot) = (wind speed)2 X (.0027).  The .0027 is a fudge factor that works at sea level. The .0027 factor has to be reduced to 15% less at our altitude (.002295). So a 100 mph wind at our altitude has a force of (100)2 X (.002295) = 22.95 pounds/square foot. To find an equivalent sea level wind speed, plug this figure into the original formula and back out the wind speed, which comes to about 92 mph. This can work for any elevation, but you need to adjust the .0027 fudge factor by the percentage of atmosphere you have left. For instance, at 10,000’ elevation you have 30% less air, so the figure becomes (.0027) X (.7) = .00189, which when plugged back into the equation makes the force of a 100 mph wind equivalent to 83 mph at sea level.

Powerful Storm!


While April has been known to have some pretty good storms here and there, this will be one of the strongest we’ve had in some time. A very wet atmospheric river is moving into the region bringing high winds (a Wind Advisory is up for western Nevada through Friday), heavy valley rain (A Flood Watch is up into Saturday Morning) and deep mountain snow (a Winter Storm Warning for the mountains runs through Saturday afternoon.) The main storm Friday will come in two waves, the first late Thursday night into Friday morning, and the second coming late Friday. Strong southwest winds will create some shadowing, but significant spillover will occur, especially on the west side of the valley.

Travel over the passes will be very difficult Friday, with high winds and heavy snow creating whiteout conditions. Snow levels will drop below the lake sometime during Friday, although they can bounce up and down a bit.

Colder air moves in behind the main storm front, and snow could fall all the way to the valley floor by Saturday.

Conditions do dry out on Sunday and temperatures will rebound from the 40s on Saturday back into the 50s on Sunday.



Flood Concerns, High Winds and Mountain Snow

Here we go again. Another atmospheric river weather system is poised to move through the region late Thursday night into Saturday morning, resulting in periodic heavy rain, strong winds, and heavy snow in the mountains. A Flood Watch is in effect for the entire region from late Thursday night through Saturday morning. The effect Thursday will be mostly felt in terms of high winds, gusting to 40 mph or more by the afternoon. Rain and snow will likely start in the mountains late Thursday afternoon, with initial snow levels above 7,500’. The heaviest precipitation will come through very early Friday morning, and snow levels will gradually drop throughout the day, reaching Lake Tahoe level late Friday afternoon, and then possibly falling to the valley floors by Saturday morning.

There is a bit of a break Sunday before a weak system comes through Monday morning.

From a flood potential, the best advice given is if you live in an area that has been affected by flooding already this winter, it would be wise to keep your flood mitigation efforts in place. While it’s not likely there will be significant flooding on the mainstem rivers, smaller creeks and drainages could be susceptible to flash flooding.


Here We Go Again…

As we warm things up for Wednesday, the area is bracing for another atmospheric river type of storm system coming in later in the week. Mostly cloudy skies Wednesday will still allow temperatures to build into the low 70s, which will then drop back into the 60s Thursday. Winds will pick up, and a slight chance of a shower Thursday afternoon becomes a near sure thing Friday and Saturday. The possibility of heavy rain has kicked off an Areal Flood Watch for western Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area below 6,500’ from late Thursday night through Saturday morning. Speaking of the lake, a Winter Storm Watch is in effect during the same time period. While widespread flooding isn’t expected on most of the mainstem rivers, the Susan and Carson Rivers could experience some flooding due to limited upstream storage. Snow levels will likely start out early Friday morning above 7,000’, but will fall to near valley floors by Saturday. Winds will also be quite strong with this event, especially Late Thursday night into Friday.


A break on Sunday will be followed by another weaker storm Monday, which could bring another round of mountain snow and valley rain showers.

Mild Week…Stormy Weekend

We have a few days to enjoy dry and mild conditions before another atmospheric river (maybe I should call it an “atmo” just to make it a 4 letter word) moves into the region late this week. It doesn’t look like a particularly strong atmospheric river, but it does have the potential to deposit a reasonable amount of rain in the valley and rain and high elevation snow in the mountains starting Friday. High temperatures will climb to the mid-60s Tuesday and then bump up to the mid-70s on Wednesday before falling back into the 60s Thursday. On Friday, winds will increase as the first “atmo” wave hits the region, and rain looks pretty likely through the weekend. Temperatures fall into the 50s on Friday, and will chill down into the 40s on Saturday and Sunday. That much cooling could bring the snow levels close to the valley floor, although you will probably have to get up above 5,500’ before you have any realistic chance of accumulations. Total water amounts could be several inches in the mountains, with a half an inch or more possible in the valleys…with more on the west side as usual.



Great Weekend…And How Far West Do I Look?

We have a mild weekend lined up as a ridge of high pressure crosses the west coast, bringing sunny skies on Saturday with temperatures that will rise into the mid-60s. Winds will be fairly mild (NE to 10 in the afternoon). Sunday will likely warm up to nearly 70 degrees, but clouds will increase ahead of a weak storm system that will likely miss us here in Reno, but could bring an isolated shower Sunday night into Monday morning. Temperatures cool slightly next week, but still stay seasonable in the low 60s Monday before warming back into the 70s by mid-week.

World View

Yesterday, Jerry wondered how far to the west I look with respect to incoming weather. If you really want to get technical, I look all around the globe (at least the entire northern hemisphere), since the whole atmosphere is interconnected. But I look most intently at what is going on from here out into the central Pacific, and less so at the rest of the Pacific.

There are some exceptions to this: The far western Pacific can be of great interest. Often when we get a deepening low pressure over Japan it foretells a storm dropping over us about four days later. It doesn’t always work, but it’s not a bad rule of thumb.


Exciting Announcement!


As many of you know, I have been narrating audio books, and I am so very excited to announce I have signed a three book deal with bestselling author C.L. Bevill to finish out her “Bubba Mystery Series.” I have just finished the first titled “Bubba and the Missing Woman.” I have been doing this for a while now, and I have to say I have never had so much fun doing a book. It is all a down home southern mystery series, and one of the funniest books I’ve ever “read.” There were several times I had to stop recording because I was laughing so much. It is available through Audible. Here’s a link: http://www.audible.com/…/B06XX1…/ref=a_search_c4_1_10_srTtl…

I don’t ask this very often, but could you please share this? Especially if you know any audio book fans.

If you are not already an Audible customer, you can get this for free if you sign up for a one month trial subscription. Click on the link above for details!

Clearing and Warming…And How Far West Do I Look? (Pt. 1)

The fast moving spring/winter storm that brought Thursday snow to the region will move out quickly, leaving clearing skies and warming conditions as we head into the weekend. Friday will still be fairly chilly with brisk north winds, keeping our high temperature just short of the 60 degree mark, but by Saturday the highs should climb to the upper 60s, and we will likely top 70 on Sunday, with only a slight chance of a weekend ending shower. Temperatures stay mild to warm into the middle of next week.

World View

Jerry had an interesting question: “How far west do you look to get a handle on upcoming weather? I remember either reading or hearing you mention something about Siberia once but I don’t remember the context. It does appear, however, that as weather moves east the highs and lows don’t disappear they just sort of dance around each other. So it seems reasonable that looking west like at China, Mongolia, Russia, and looking at their stuff you might see trends like hotter, colder, etc. soon to be in our back yard.” Jerry has a good point, and I’ll address it tomorrow.