Streams cold and moving fast
May 14, 2013
Near record high temperatures today will quickly melt off what’s left of the snowpack, sending fast-moving freezing water down Sierra streams.
While the forecast high temperature today in Carson Valley is 85, 5 degrees short of the record set in 1996, Reno’s expected to match its high temperature for the day.
The National Weather Service issued a warning that high temperatures will mean rivers and streams swollen by snowmelt will be running cold and swift.
Water temperatures will be in the 50s, despite the warm air temperatures, making hypothermia possible. Parents are asked to keep an eye on their children when near the water.
Expect breezy conditions on Monday as a high pressure ridge moves off to the east. Winds are forecast to be 10-15 mph, increasing to 20-25 mph in the afternoon, with gusts of up to 40 mph. The high temperatures will start to cool off on Tuesday, dropping into the 70s by Thursday.
According to the water supply outlook issued by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Weather Service on Thursday, runoff season will be limited this season with the highest stream flows this week.
April was another disappointing month as far as precipitation goes, with the Carson River Basin receiving less than half of average moisture.
While a wet first week of May slowed evaporation and allowed for less water use, the snowpack in the basin was down to 22 percent, a point less than last year on May 9.
That means only 30 percent of average stream flow will be available to Carson Valley ranchers, who will have to rely on pumping groundwater to make up the difference.