Rain in Valley, snow in mountains expected Saturday
March 22, 2019
While not seeing a lot of rain from these first spring storms, cool cloudy weather is doing its part to keep snow in the mountains.
A storm forecast could bring snow levels down to 5,000 feet by early Saturday morning, and after a break on Sunday, could bring gusty winds, rain and mountain snow to Western Nevada into the middle of next week.
National Weather Service forecasters in Reno said that a fast-moving storm due to arrive late Friday night will limit the amount of precipitation with between a tenth to a third of an inch of rain expected in Western Nevada valleys.
Light accumulations of snow are possible in the foothills of Western Nevada with most of the precipitation falling during the day on Saturday.
In a statement issued Friday morning, forecasters said several inches of snow are possible overnight in the Sierra, complicating travel on Saturday morning.
"Anyone with travel plans over the Sierra through Saturday morning should be prepared for longer driver times along with likely chain controls," they said.
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Total precipitation for March in Minden was .47 inches as of Thursday, according to weather service records. That's well behind the average of .85 inches. However, the average temperature so far this month has been 39 degrees in the Douglas County seat, 4 degrees cooler than average. Cooler temperatures in the Sierra have resulted in slower melt-off and kept the Carson River at well below flood stage.
While February was the fourth wettest on record, exceeding the overall record year of 2017, the river remained in its banks.
Flooding did close Centerville Lane between Highway 88 and Foothill Road during the month.
County workers cleaned up some of the drainage along the road earlier this week.
A project to improve some of the culverts there could occur later this year or early next year, according to county traffic engineer Jon Erb.
As of Friday, telemetry at the top of the Carson River shows the snowpack is running 180 percent of average.
Ebbetts Pass at the head of the East Fork is at 173 percent, while Carson Pass is showing 160 percent for this time of year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service snow telemetry.
Carson Valley ranchers rely on the snowpack to provide irrigation water into the summer. A cool spring means a longer irrigation season.