From one extreme to another
While 2017 was definitely a drought-buster, it’s also a reminder that the weather in Western Nevada tends to be fickle.
While it takes a pretty big storm to take a water year from zero to hero, it doesn’t take very many of them, generally.
During the 2010-2011 water year, several atmospheric rivers made landfall, but then the tap was turned off for pretty much four years.
It was so dry that the only average 2015-16 El Niño year looked like a deluge. It was 2016-17 that showed us what that really could mean with a record 20 inches of precipitation falling in Minden.
But here we are past Christmas and the cherry on top of our record calendar year is a big dry raspberry.
That bodes even worse for the 2017-18 water year. The three-month precipitation outlook is calling for less not more moisture.
Of course, that long-range forecast and $5 will get you a cup of coffee. Nevada’s a betting state, and the Stateline casinos and Sierra ski resorts are all-in on the weather wager.
So are Carson Valley’s ranchers, since the mountain snowpack is nearly the only spring water storage on the Carson River.
With no storms in sight, it appears that December 2017 will be one of the driest on record. We received just enough moisture to avoid getting a complete goose egg, but not enough to stay out of the top-10 driest Decembers since records started being kept in Minden in 1906.