Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Unusually Frigid Thanksgiving Weekend

Hope that everyone travels safely for the holiday! Let's check out what is in store for Thanksgiving and going into the weekend.

We have an early season cold outbreak on tap for Thanksgiving weekend once the wind and snow move through the region. Post-frontal conditions will keep the maximum temperatures near and below freezing for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend! Note that it would have been even colder in western Nevada if we had deeper snow cover and were expected clearer skies.

From Wednesday through Saturday we are forecasting maximum temperatures near 30 or into the middle 30s with lows in the teens to low 20s for western Nevada valleys, while highs in the Sierra will be in the 20s with lows ranging from the single digits to low teens. These frigid temperatures may result in broken water lines if they are not well insulated, as well as very chilly temperatures for late night/early morning Black Friday shoppers. A few things to keep in mind...if you're heading up to the ski slopes or to shop on Black Friday, dress warmly, especially if you plan to wait outside before stores open. We also urge you to provide adequate shelter and warmth to your outdoor pets. Considering that the past couple of winters have been relatively dry and warm, this will be quite a change for much of the region, so take these cold temperatures seriously! 

The last significant cold outbreak was waaay back in January 2013. Here is a Facebook post highlighting the weather from January 2013. It was most notable for strong inversions, producing areas of fog and haze in valleys on many days of the month. Temperatures were well below normal for most of January 2013, with the coldest air mass between the 11th and 14th producing low temperatures below -10 degrees in the Lake Tahoe basin, and single digits for Reno.

OK, so we know it can get pretty cold in January, and that is expected but just how unusual are these cold temperatures for late November? Let's take a look at typical November normal temperatures for the Reno airport (link to more graphs). Normals are highlighted in green with record temperatures on either end of the spectrum highlighted in red and light blue. The bars on the chart indicate the observed temperatures so far this month. For November 27th, the record temperatures are as follows:

     Highest Max Temperature  73/2014
     Lowest Max Temperature  26/1919 
     Highest Min Temperature  41/2014 
     Lowest Min Temperature    7/1948

For now the forecast temperatures for the 27th in Reno are a minimum of 18 degrees and a maximum of 34 degrees, which would not be records for that date, but impacts from these temperature will still be of concern to the communities in the Sierra and western Nevada. 

Since we haven't had cold temperatures like this for awhile here are some reminders and tips to be prepared for the wintry conditions! Now is the time to prepare before the cold weather impacts the region. For up-to-date information on the storm and details please go to