Cold snap signals the end of summer
Summer is ending and fall is beginning right on schedule in northern Nevada.
Forecasters were calling on Wednesday for possible freezing temperatures in the valleys north of Reno this week and snow in the Sierra.
The change was heralded on Wednesday by winds gusting up to 45 mph in western Nevada and the Sierra.
An “unusually strong low-pressure system” is dropping from the Gulf of Alaska and Canada and drawing colder air into the area, meteorologist Wendell Hohmann said.
“We could see some local freezes in the colder areas, especially in the North Valleys, like Cold Springs and Stead,” Hohmann said. “We probably won’t see freezing temperatures in Reno.”
Up to two inches of snow could fall below 7,000 feet in the Sierra overnight with as much as 4 inches above 7,000 feet, which would be enough to prompt chain or snow tire restrictions.
“There is the potential for more than several inches, but it’s really hard to (predict) that right now,” Hohmann said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be significant enough to close any roads.”
Carson City and Carson Valley should also get close to freezing but not actually drop below freezing, he said.
After the storm blows out of the region on Saturday, the weather will warm a bit for the arrival of fall on Sunday. Another storm system could appear by midweek next week.
While cooler, unstable weather isn’t rare with the approach of the fall season, Meteorologist Rhett Milne said the storms aren’t necessarily an indicator of winter weather to come.
“As dry as it has been, this is a good sign,” Milne said. “But to say this is the start of the winter season is a bit premature.”
Almost any precipitation would be welcome in the area, which is in an extreme drought — the fourth highest category in the five-stage chart complied by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Since Jan. 1, Reno has received 1.79 inches of rain, one-third of the normal 5.21 inches for mid-September.