Stormy Week Ahead

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Wintry weather will settle in for most of the rest of the week, with the mountains, as usual, feeling the strongest impacts. For Wednesday, widely scattered showers (mostly up in aforementioned mountains) will increase in intensity overnight into Thursday. Snow levels will range from near Lake Tahoe level and slowly fall to about the 5,000′ elevation (just above the valley floor) by Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the mountains from 10 pm Wednesday through early Friday morning. Total snow amounts through the time period could range from trace amounts in the foothills to a few inches at the Lake to amounts measured in feet on the crests of the Sierra.
After a brief break Friday a colder storm moves through which could bring snowfall all the way down to the valley floor, although at this time it’s uncertain if we will get any accumulations.

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Active Weather Week Ahead (And Beyond)

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It is shaping up to be a very active week or two in our area. By late in the day Tuesday, a storm front will move through bringing rainfall with high elevation snow. Precipitation amounts will vary greatly between the mountains (with an inch or more of liquid possible by Wednesday afternoon) to marginal amounts in the Reno area due to the rain shadow. Late Wednesday into Thursday a colder and potentially stronger storm moves in and a mountain Winter Storm Watch is in effect as a result during that time. After a brief break Friday another cold storm moves in with limited precipitation.

Looking further into late next week, the possibility of an Atmospheric River  is starting to look likely enough to bear watching. The specifics are still a little iffy, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Cool “Hole Punch Cloud” Spotted Near Reno.

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Lillian Mendes sent in a very cool shot of a “Hole Punch Cloud” from Palomino Valley. These are created when a jet flies through a thick cirrus layer of clouds, usually when taking off (likely this particular jet took off from the Reno/Tahoe Airport). As it “punches through,” particulates from the jet’s exhaust cause some of the supersaturated moisture in the cirrus layer to condense and drop out as light precipitation up there, only to evaporate within a couple of thousand feet on the way down. It leaves behind this eerie, almost otherworldly looking cloud formation. It’s very cool!

Warm Weekend…Fire Danger Increases

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Temperatures will continue to rise into the weekend as a ridge of high pressure builds into the region. Friday’s high in the upper 70s will be followed by a real shot at 80 degrees on Saturday with sunny skies both days. A trough of low pressure approaches the coast by the end of the weekend which will spell the end of the autumn heat, dropping Sunday back into the 70s, Monday into the 60s and bottoming out in the upper 50s on Tuesday. Apart from the cooler temperatures (and variable amounts of cloudiness), the trough will also bring some dusty winds Late Sunday into Monday, which will increase the fire danger. A Fire Weather Watch goes into effect Sunday afternoon and evening as a result.

Hard Freeze

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The first widespread killing freeze of the season will occur Monday morning after a cool northerly flow left a cold airmass across western Nevada. Skies will remain sunny across the region for the next week, with a slow but steady warming trend occurring for the rest of the work week. Low temperatures will range from the upper 20s at the Reno airport to as low as the upper teens in some of the coldest outlying microclimates. High temperatures will start in the low 60s Monday and will warm into the low 70s by the latter half of the week.

Frozen sprinklers

The question that is always asked at this time is should I shut off my sprinklers. It really depends on how “freeze-proof” your irrigation system is. Most modern systems can withstand a few sub-freezing nights without any damage (I’ll leave it up to you to decide how freeze resistant your system is.) And with an extended forecast that looks very dry, if yours can survive a few nights in the 20s, I’d keep it active. But is certainly is time to cut back on the amount of water you are using, and do remember to disconnect your hoses from the bibs so that the faucets drain completely.

 

 

Sunny, But a Freeze Watch Coming

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As our skies clear off, look for some areas to get down into the “hard freeze” territory over the next several days. Morning lows at the airport will likely dip into the upper 30s through Sunday morning (with low 30s and even upper 20s in the colder outlying valleys), while daytime highs will warm into the upper 60s Friday and then to the mid-70s on Saturday. The flow turns back to the north on Sunday, dropping our highs back into the 60s, and dropping Monday morning’s lows to below the freezing mark across the entire region, with several places likely to fall into the mid and even lower 20s. A Freeze Watch has been posted for Sunday night through Monday morning for the entire region as a result. Temperatures will gradually rebound to the low 70s by the middle of next week.

Drying Up, Sunny Weekend…And Prayers for The Gulf Coast

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Cloudiness caused by a weak inside slider type of disturbance will be with us through Thursday, with only a slight chance of mainly mountain rain and high elevation snow. The best odds for that to occur are in the areas south of Lake Tahoe. For the Reno area, partly cloudy skies will bring us a high temperature in the low 60s Thursday, before a blocking pattern sets up for the weekend, which will clear out our skies and boost our high temperatures back to around the 70 degree mark. Clearing skies will also allow our low temperatures to drop into the 30s, with even colder temperatures into the 20s for the outlying areas through the weekend.

Hurricane

And on a much different note, our thoughts and prayers are going out to those affected by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Panama City, Florida midday Wednesday. Though there are different metrics of measuring the strength of storms, Michael is likely to go down as the third strongest hurricane to make landfall in the US. Michael had strengthened to a very strong category 4 (just falling short of a category 5) hurricane, packing winds of over 150 mph. It will be a while before damage estimates are known, but in many places it most assuredly be catastrophic.

Michael Damage

Cooling Off…

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Some cooler weather will work its way into the region over the next couple of days, dropping our high temperatures back into the 60s. A couple of weak “inside slider” systems will drop down out of the north, bringing in some clouds and giving us a slight chance of a shower or two, although it is not expected to be a particularly wet pattern. Temperatures rebound back to near 70 degrees as we head into the weekend with clearing skies. Clear overnight conditions will likely cause some regional frosts and freezes over the weekend.

Typical (?) Fall Forecast

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All in all, this should be a fairly typical fall week weather-wise. To begin with, Tuesday will be sunny with slightly above average temperatures. Wednesday and Thursday should be cooler (60s) with a couple of weak “Inside Slider” systems dropping down from the north that will give us only a slight chance of any showers (mainly Wednesday), and will give us some moderate breezes. The weather clears out and warms back up to the low 70s by the weekend.

Unsettled Weather Remains

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Fall has definitely arrived. The first wave will be moving out of the region Thursday with a few residual showers and high temperatures falling to the mid-60s. Temperatures rebound on Friday to about 70 degrees with dry conditions and partly cloudy skies. The next storm system digs through the Pacific Northwest over the weekend, dropping temperatures again into the 60s, and giving us a slight chance of some showers Saturday. As skies clear out late Sunday, we can expect some very cold temperatures Monday morning, and the colder microclimates will likely see some significant frosts.