Sparks residents finally had the chance to go play in the snow late last week when a series of storms blew in 5-6” of natural snowfall and up to two feet in the Lake Tahoe area.
National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Evan LaGuardia noted that these past few storms was a pleasant surprise and that the region is expected to stay in this variable weather pattern for a while.
“The climate forecast for the end of February and March showed an active wet pattern and it’s playing out. This past storm was pretty good; it would be nice if we stayed like that. I just flew in from Oklahoma and I was the only one on the plane coming home, everyone else was going on vacation. People had their ski equipment with them, everyone was excited we got snow,” LaGuardia says.
The City of Sparks was also proactive in preparing for the storms well in advance by applying brine to Sparks’ major roadways on Feb. 21 before the beginning of the storms rolled in. Spraying a salt pre-treatment keeps the ice from binding to the road, making it easier to plow.
“As soon as we start hearing about storms moving in, our City of Sparks maintenance crews start preparing. Our crews were out in full force this past weekend working 12-hour shifts beginning at 2:30 a.m. on Friday,” says City of Sparks Community Relations Manager Julie Duewel.
“It’s nice this time of the year, in March the sun is high in the sky and melts the snow pretty quick. I like to see it snowing, put in some time shoveling, and then watch it melt fast,” says LaGuardia.
However, although this past storm was a welcome change from the previous dry months, it is unlikely that Reno-Sparks will make up the precipitation needed to turn it into an average winter season.
“(The amount of precipitation) is below average. This past storm was a good one, but we need a lot more storms like this. Unless there’s a Miracle March, we have a low chance that we’ll get back up to normal,” LaGuardia says.
“A possible system is expected to come in Thursday/Friday, but it is supposed to be small with not much precipitation associated with it,” says LaGuardia. “A potential system may be coming in Sunday afternoon into Monday that could bring in more rain or snow- we’ll see what happens.”
When inclement weather threatens school operations, the Washoe County School District will relay delayed starts, school closures, and other information to staff, parents, and the community via its website, social media, local TV and radio stations, and the “Connect-Ed” phone message sent to all parents and staff beginning at 6 a.m.