Kurt Hildebrand

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November 13, 2013
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November moisture in the cards

There’s a slight chance that Douglas County residents may see some precipitation this weekend after what has so far been a dry and warm November.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jessica Kielhorn said there is a slight chance of rain in the Valley and snow in the mountains this weekend.

“They’re looking to be colder, and the model is trending to be wetter,” she said Tuesday. “There’s definitely an increasing chance of some precipitation this weekend, but it’s still a little too early to tell.”

High temperatures climbed into the 70s during the Veterans Day weekend, hitting 72 on Saturday, and cooling off to 71 degrees on Monday.

So far Minden has seen no moisture during the month, according to R-C Weather Watcher Stan Kapler.

Kapler said a third of an inch of precipitation and a half -inch of snow fell during October, the first month of the water year.

October saw just an inch of precipitation, or 34 percent of average for the month, at Ebbetts Pass, the headwaters of the Carson River’s East Fork. Other locations in the Carson River watershed saw as little as 11 percent average moisture and as much as 79 percent.

2013 has been an unlucky year for anyone counting on the weather for their livelihood.

Running up to the beginning of the year, it looked like there wouldn’t be a second consecutive drought year.

But starting in January, storms stopped coming. Cold temperatures during January helped stem the melt-off for a month. Neither February nor March was a good water producer and both had several warm days that contributed to an early reduction of the snowpack.

By the start of April, the snowpack was down to about half of average. Carson Valley has little upstream water storage, so ranchers rely on snowmelt from the mountains to irrigate their crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared Douglas and other Western Nevada counties drought disaster areas. Douglas County continues to be in a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor issued on Thursday.

Not all the news was bad over the summer. Jacks Valley Ranch owner John Ascuaga said he’d had one of the best hay crops ever, thanks to a patch of snow that fell in May just above the ranch.

Ranchers aren’t the only people counting on the weather for a living.

Heavenly Ski Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resorts plan to open Nov. 22, according to their web sites.

Colder temperatures forecast for the rest of the month, with high temperatures dropping into the 50s by Friday.

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 13, 2013 02:26PM Published Nov 13, 2013 02:26PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.