Water year is wettest in state’s history | RecordCourier.com
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Water year is wettest in state’s history

by Merrie Leininger

The state climatologist’s office has released information that the last water year was one of the wettest in the state’s history.

State climatologist John James said the October 1997-April 1998 water year was above average for the fourth year in row.

And after a wetter than average September, October and so far this month have been “fairly normal in the northern part of the state,” James said. “October isn’t a very good month for precipitation.”

He said the bulk of the precipitation arrives in January and February.

The 97-98 water year in Minden was 163 percent of average with 13.28 inches.

In some areas of Nevada, it was one of the wettest years on record. For example, Mina had 10.02 inches, the most in at least 75 years. Lovelock, Rye Patch, Pioche and Battle Mountain all had the wettest year this century. Reno and Las Vegas totals were in the top five in 60 years in Las Vegas and 125 years in Reno.

In Reno, September 1998 was the third wettest in 118 years of record keeping, with 2.17 inches, or about five times the .39 inch average.

Julian Larrouy, watermaster for the Carson River, said it has been a great four years, but he declined to make predictions about this year.

“It’s been unprecedented, really. Irrigation has been great, but as far as this coming year, I can’t make any predictions,” he said.

He said ranchers rely on rainfall and snowfall in the October-April water year because there are no reservoirs.

“Other places can rely on reserves, but because of the fact we have no upstream reservoirs with significant capacity, we have to rely on the year-to-year rainfall/snowfall,” Larrouy said.

He said for many years, there was a movement to dam the Carson River to benefit the Valley, but it was never approved.

“People want a free-flowing river,” he said.

As for this year, Larrouy said there is no way of knowing.

“The point is, we don’t really know what’s coming next. To predict weather in Nevada, you’re either a stranger or a damn fool,” he said.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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