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Less blow, more snow

It sounds like a 209 mph record claimed at Kirkwood turned out to be another overblown Sierra tale, thanks to a faulty anemometer.

That shouldn’t be a surprise, given the wear and tear weather gear takes in our corner of the world.

Last week, Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager Chris Johnson described the struggles they had with the automated weather observation station used by aircraft to determine conditions.

Decades old, that thing just up and died for a couple of months last year after it fried its motherboard.

Johnson described it as a DOS holdover from a much earlier computer era.

That it lasted as long as it did was a miracle. There’s a new one on the way, but using the electronic equivalent of baling wire and bubble gum, it’s back in operation.

We rely on a collection of automated sensors to track everything from temperatures to wind speed to snow-water equivalent in the Sierra.

While water forecasters still trek into the wilderness to put a stick in the snow to see how much water is there, that is more show than tell, when there’s a bunch of telemetry to provide far more detailed information.

People wonder whether we don’t occasionally make up some of the weather forecasts, and looking back, we could see how that would be the impression.

We rely on the National Weather Service website for a lot of what we report and we believe we report that information honestly.

But nothing makes a liar out of an honest person like repeating the weather report.

We’ve had far more fair days than foul so far this winter, but we know that every nice winter day is adding to the water debt that will come due in irrigation season.