Wacky weather week brings third wettest quarter
With 4.91 inches of precipitation so far, Carson Valley has had its third wettest March, April and May on record and is very close to pulling into second place.
According to the National Weather Service, 1.53 inches have fallen in Minden this month, putting it in the top 10 Mays on record. And there’s a chance that this spring will move into second place before the month ends on Thursday.
Records have been kept in the Douglas County seat since it was founded in 1906.
The wettest March, April and May on record was in 1995, when 8.56 inches fell. But the same three months in 1975 saw 4.92 inches of rain, just barely ahead of this year.
While 2017 — which saw Cradlebaugh Bridge close twice due to river flooding — is the clear record-holder for the year, it was fifth place for the same three months.
Technically, spring is only two months old, and won’t end until June 20.
This week opened with a big mudslide across from the Topaz Lodge that closed Highway 395 for 18 hours on Monday and Tuesday.
A total of .86 inches of rain fell on the Slinkard Fire burn scar sending water, mud and debris down across the highway, blocking the entrance to the Topaz Lodge.
Employees were able to bar the doors against the deluge, thus preventing any damage to the inside. Neighbors helped clear the mud from the front of the south county casino well before the start of the busy Memorial Day weekend.
The weather moved to Carson Valley early Friday morning, when the heavens opened up and dumped .58 inches of rain in Minden.
Water quickly filled up gullies in the north Valley, overtopping Stephanie Way and leaving mud and rocks from East Valley Road to Vicky Lane.
Mottsville Lane had water encroaching the eastbound lane, but wasn’t closed.
This wet spring has helped improve the irrigation picture, but could increase the danger of wildfires. The same precipitation allowing ranchers to grow their crops also watered cheat grass and other plants growing in the wildland.
Both the National Interagency Fire Center and the Reno National Weather Service expect a warming trend to develop that will lead to drier than normal conditions by late spring, fire officials said.
As a result, the below average snowpack is expected to melt faster, grasses and other vegetation are expected to dry out earlier and wildland fire activity is likely to increase to above average by mid-summer.
“Although we received a great deal of precipitation during the month of March, we are on track for an above average potential for significant wildfire activity this summer.” said U.S. Forest Service Fire Management Officer Steve Burns. “It’s important to keep in mind that in the U.S., year-round fire seasons have become the new normal, which means for people living in fire-prone areas, wildfire preparedness is essential.”
Some of Douglas County’s largest fires have been started by lightning.
However, several large fires have been the result of carelessness with campfires, backyard burns, target shooting, and even bored teenagers.