RENO, Nevada: Reno, Nevada recorded no rain during the entire month of January, breaking a record that goes back some 130 years.
Reno, on the Nevada-California border, has experienced weather extremes in recent months, including its wettest October on record last year when, according to the National Weather Service, the yearly amount of rain fell on northern Nevada in just two days.
Dan McEvoy, regional climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center, told the Reno Gazette-Journal, “We have had whiplash from wet to dry.”
Autumn rains have also wreaked havoc across the American west, a region suffering from drought. The city of Los Angeles broke a rainfall record set in 1936, while areas of Arizona received up to 400 percent of its average precipitation during its 2021 monsoon season.
The super-storms refilled some dwindling reservoirs, and the state of California was removed from the worst drought categories at the end of January. However, the region is now bracing for another prolonged period with no precipitation.
Along with Reno’s record, other cities across the west broke records for periods without rain, including Las Vegas and Sacramento.
In the latest U.S. Drought Monitor summary for the west issued last week, Brad Rippey, meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, “Much of the region has experienced alternating periods of wet and dry weather since the water year began on October 1, 2021.”
Variability is not uncommon in the U.S. west, where conditions often change between seasons, but increasing heat has changed the circumstances.
Forecasts show that February is not likely to be better.
At the end of January, climate scientist Daniel Swain wrote on Twitter, “Extremely dry conditions, with zero rain or snow in most spots, are likely to continue across all of California and, indeed, much of the west into mid-February.”
The previous notable amount of precipitation in Reno was some snow that fell on 29th December, and forecasts for February are not likely to offer much reprieve, note officials.