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Weather Nuggets

Nevada Weather Nuggets

All-time Highest Temperature: 125 at Laughlin, June 29, 1994

All-time Lowest Temperature: minus 50 at San Jacinto, January 8,

Nevada is on the lee side of the Sierra Nevada range and cut off from Pacific maritime moisture.


Greatest 24 hour Snowfall*: 38" Incline (6500' elevation), February 7-8, 1985

One Month Snowfall Record**: 139" Daggett Pass, Dec. – Feb. 1969

Three Month Snowfall Record: 317" Daggett Pass, Dec. 1968 – Feb. 1969

Greatest Seasonal Snowfall: 412" Daggett Pass, 1968-69

Greatest Depth of Snow: 175" Daggett Pass, February 1969

*It is estimated that 175-200 inches of snow fell at Tahoe Meadows (8500' elevation — near Mt. Rose) during a 9-day storm from February 12 to 20, 1986. During this episodic weather event, an unconfirmed 76" fall was recorded in one day. If so, that ties the world record for a 24-hour snowfall set April 14-15, 1921 at Silver Lake, Colorado. (California's 24-hour snowfall record ranks second in the nation with 67" measured at Echo Summit on January 4-5, 1982.)

** Daggett Pass is located at 7,375 feet elevation on the Kingsbury Grade, east of Lake Tahoe in Douglas County, Nevada. The route is named for Charles D. Daggett, whose tollhouse stood at the foot of Haine's Canyon.

U.S. Diurnal (Daily) Temperature Record

Many parts of the Intermountain West have dry, sunny climates, and that is where the greatest daily temperature ranges occur in the United States. Clear skies, a dry atmosphere, and a lack of wind favor large daily temperature ranges.

Early weather station in the Far West.

Clear skies during the daytime allow maximum input of solar energy at the ground, which translates into maximum temperatures. Clear skies and a dry atmosphere at night allow maximum cooling at the surface. If there is little or no wind, the cooling that occurs at the surface can be confined to a thin layer of air. If a breeze blows, the cool air close to the surface mixes with warmer air from above, and the minimum temperature will be elevated. From July through October, parts of Colorado west of the Continental Divide, northern Nevada, western Wyoming, central Idaho, central Oregon, and parts of eastern and northern California have average daily temperature ranges from 40 to 45. These locations are usually dry during these months and are seldom affected by large-scale storms as they are in winter.

Cool mornings and warm afternoons are the norm in the valleys of the Silver State, where temperature inversions are a regular feature. Nevada's summertime weather tends toward dry air and cloudless conditions, that encourages accumulated daytime heat to escape rapidly back into the atmosphere after sunset, a dynamic known as radiational cooling. Cooler air drains down from surrounding mountain slopes to pool in valley bottoms, forming intense shallow inversions. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, daytime heating rapidly warms the cold air in the valley bottoms so that chilly mornings are quickly replaced by warm to hot afternoons.

This diurnal (daily) temperature swing is common to mountainous topography, but Nevada's fluctuations are the most extreme in the nation. On October 7, 1997, San Jacinto Ranch logged a morning low of 16 and warmed to 86 in the afternoon, while in 1999, the temperature rose from 29 to 90 on August 31 at San Jacinto and 35 to 96 at Minden. Nevada's all-time record for a diurnal temperature swing is 75 — from 12 to 87 on September 21, 1954, recorded at Deeth.*

*This radical diurnal swing is also the United State's record for temperature change caused only by daily local cooling and heating.

Much of the Nevada weather data posted here was previously published in the Nevada Climate Summary, a monthly review issued by John W. James, State Climatologist. Nevada Climate Summaries are available at Nevada libraries. More information may be obtained by email.

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