Dry December winter preview?
With little chance of additional precipitation between now and New Year’s, December looks like it will be one of the driest on record.
Only .06 inches of moisture and a trace amount of snow fell during the month in Minden, all of that on Dec. 3. December is typically one of the wettest months of the year in Carson Valley.
According to records dating back 111 years, an average of 1.39 inches of precipitation falls during the month, with 4.7 inches of that typically in the form of snow.
A ridge of high pressure parked over Western Nevada kept any moisture from getting through for 19 days.
While 2017 will go down in the record books as the wettest calendar year in Minden history with 20 inches of precipitation, without another storm, December will go into the records as the ninth driest. Four years, 1912, 1930, 1989 and 2011 all posted no precipitation in Minden during December.
But thanks to a 3.1-inch dousing Carson Valley received in November, the water year starting on Oct. 1 is running twice its 1.44-inch average.
Natural Resources Conservation Service Hydrologist Jeff Anderson and Carson-Truckee Federal Water Master Chad Blanchard will be measuring snow depth Thursday on Mt. Rose.
Sierra snowpack is the chief source of the Carson River, which is where most Carson Valley ranchers obtain water to irrigate their fields.
According to snow telemetry, the snowpack is at 54 percent of average as of Friday, with year to date precipitation at 81 percent. Some of that precipitation either fell as rain or has already melted off.
The three-month outlook issued Dec. 21 shows Carson Valley will have below average precipitation and above average temperatures through March.
A year ago Wednesday, Western Nevada was still in the grip of a severe drought, according to the U.S, Drought Monitor.
That was erased by this year’s extremely wet weather, but the drought monitor issued last week indicates abnormally dry conditions are creeping back north.