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January 10, 2012
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Report: Dry first half not good news for wet winter

Chances for even average winter precipitation are slipping away as each day of January passes without any moisture.

In a report issued Monday by the National Weather and Natural Resources Conservation services, experts point out that the present dry spell is likely to continue through mid-January. December, January and February are the main snow producing months in Western Nevada.

Tuesday marked the 67th day without measurable precipitation in Minden, the Douglas County seat.

"Persistent high pressure over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Western United States has effectively blocked storms since mid-October, leaving vast areas of Nevada and Eastern California high and dry," according to the report. "This has led to record to near-record breaking low snow amounts for the entire region."

Forecasters say that there may be some hope for the winter yet.

"While two or three strong wet storms could turn this situation around, the longer we go without appreciable precipitation, the harder it will be to play catch up," report authors said. "The one silver lining to this situation is that local reservoirs are generally in good shape with carry-over water from last year."

The other silver lining is that unless there's a drastic change in the weather, the chance for spring flooding will be minimal.

"However, change is possible, as the wet season can extend into late March or early April," authors said. "If snowpack significantly increases, soils become wet and it is warm and wet during the melt season, spring flooding could occur."

The Carson River basin was at 8 percent of average snowpack for the year, compared to last year at this time when it was at 224 percent. Last year the basin was at 29 percent of average precipitation for the year. This year it is at 2 percent.

The Carson River is forecast to be at 35 percent of average between April and July. Northwest Nevada was classified as being in a moderate drought by the National Drought Monitor.

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 10, 2012 08:49PM Published Jan 10, 2012 03:41PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.