Preparing for Future Droughts - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Preparing for Future Droughts

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After the winter we've had, it's difficult to think about a drought right now but it's something climatologists in our area are always studying. A group of climatologists met at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village Friday morning to discuss drought research. It's something we're not immune to in our area.

"We tend to go into a drought pretty slowly but tend to go out of it pretty quickly with a really wet winter," said Deputy State Climatologist for Nevada, Stephanie McAfee. 

The transition from drought to flooding has happened before. 

"We've seen extremes like this in the past sure. 77 was one of the driest years and 78 was a really strong wet year with flooding in January so it's been seen before," said California State Climatologist Mike Anderson. 

So despite having such a strong winter, climatologist are still planning for our next drought. 

"These punctuated wet years are helpful but not too long before another dry year comes along," said Anderson. 

So drought is always on our mind. Our water supply will last us for the next three or so years which is great news, but it will take a while for our ground water to catch up. 

"Even here in the mountains where as water moves into the ground and into the streams sometimes you have a one year lag where water you see may have been from last years snow pack," added Anderson. 

There isn't an exact prediction for how our ground water levels will look a year from now, but as long as we don't fall back into drought this year, our reservoirs and ground water supplies could do really well. One thing meteorologists and climatologists would like to improve upon is long term forecasting. Why did 2017 turn out to be so much more active than 2015-2016?

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