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We swelter through summer heat

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

Residents of Northern Nevada sweltered in near-record and record-breaking triple digit temperatures this week, with spotty power outages in the Carson Valley Monday adding to the misery.

Monday, a recorded 103 at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport broke a 1979 record of 101 for that day, and communities all over the area saw old records for July 31 shattered as a high pressure system and what National Weather Service Weather Service Specialist Bob Melrose, called a “stagnant air mass” hangs over the area.

“Imagine a bowl over the whole area, with nothing moving except for the mountains and afternoon breezes,” he said. “That’s what we have.”

Melrose said a NWS station in Johnson Lane recorded 101 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, breaking a 22-year-old 100-degree record set in 1978.

Minden weather watcher Ted Hendricks reported a high of 102 degrees and a low of 52 for Monday, while George Uebele of Sheridan Acres reported a high of 101 and a low of 61 and in Centerville, Julian Larrouy reported 103 and 52 from his weather station. Hendricks said a record of 108 degrees for July/August was recorded in 1930.

“We’re breaking records all over the area this week,” Melrose said. “Carson City recorded 100, breaking a 1993, 98-degree record; Lovelock was 107 degrees, breaking the old 104-degree record set in 1982; Yerington was 102, tying the 1977 record; and Hawthorne was a record-breaking 103.”

Melrose said the trend for the week should find temperatures declining into the mid- to low 90s by Saturday, with the possibility that trends will normalize after that. All week, he said, Carson Valley and much of the Great Basin should expect the possibility of afternoon thunder storms.

Melrose said the lack of rain in July was not significant for the area in regard to snowpack and water reserves.

n Some power outages. Late afternoon power outages were reported in Minden for homes on County Road, Winhaven and at Chichester Estates on Monday. Sierra Pacific spokesman Bob Sagan said the outages were a result of blown fuses from high demands around the time customers return to their homes after work.

“This is pretty typical of when we have sustained heat,” he said. “People get home and turn on their air conditioners around dinner time and it causes a peak. In fact, we had a record high electrical peak yesterday, with 1,577 megawatts of electricity used, breaking our old record of 1,470 megawatts on July 12, 1999.”

Sagan said one megawatt is enough electricity to serve 650 households, and the record was in the area served by Sierra Pacific, which includes Northern Nevada and Northeastern California.

“There are some things people can do to help,” he said. “A timer on the air conditioner, for example. Turning it on before you get home, would help.”

Sagan said a book for consumers, “Twelve Easy Ways to Save Energy Dollars at Home,” is available free from Sierra Pacific. Customers can call (775) 834-4827 to get it mailed to their home.