A Look Back At Our Recent Storms - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

A Look Back At Our Recent Storms

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Severe weather does not happen all that often around here, but we got a good dose of it this week.

An area of low pressure moving on shore with plenty of  moisture and instability has made for the perfect set up for us to see lots of lightning, heavy rain, gusty winds, hail, and even a water spout this week. 

Tuesday’s storms produced a ton of lightning and pockets of heavy rain too. We had a couple severe thunderstorm warnings Tuesday, mainly for small hail but most areas just saw lots of lightning and rain.  

Thankfully we’ve had enough moisture to combat the lightning, and keep us from having too many fire starts. Tuesday’s sunset was quite spectacular as high clouds, some haze, and lightning all combined for a great show.

The storms formed in the south and then traveled north towards Reno around 7pm, producing a quick round heavy rain and lots of lightning on the east side of town.

We had to run the generator at KTVN Tuesday because of a power hit around 4pm.

This photo of the waterspout was taken from Mark Regan.

Wednesday’s storms were a whole different animal, with even a water spout reported on the north side of Tahoe. A waterspout is a tornado that either forms over water or starts on land and then travels over water. Waterspouts can be very dangerous for boaters and cause you to capsize. The waterspout formed from a strong thunderstorm around 3:45pm and was capable of producing quarter size hail and gusty winds.

Taking a slice out of the storm, the cloud tops appears to have been about 40,000 feet tall, which is quite high for our area.

Tornadoes are never something to take lightly, and you should always take shelter if a warning is issued.  However, some tornadoes are stronger than others, and in some cases the large hail or strong winds from a line of storms that has gusts over 70 mph can be just as dangerous as say a weak short lived funnel cloud. 


At first glance, it was hard for me to tell if the storm produced a funnel over water or a waterspout, but if you look closely at the water you can see an area of white where the water was kicked up. This was likely where the waterspout is making contact with the water. Sometimes the only way to tell if a storm is a funnel or a tornado is if there is debris being kicked up.

This photo was taken by Mark Regan as well. 


The funnel cloud over Tahoe was a very isolated event, and as a matter of fact, the last time the NWS Reno ever issued a tornado warning was in 2014 for a storm located near Patrick. The NWS also received reports of a funnel cloud Wednesday morning near Yerington.

Keep in mind most of our tornadoes are very weak and cause hardly any damage.  They also tend to not last very long and quickly dissipate. Looking back at radar scans from today, you’ll see the storm strengthens around 3:45 and then weakens a ton by 4:15. I’m not sure how long the waterspout was in contact with the lake, but I’m guessing it was less than a few minutes. 


With so much moisture to work with rain was the main impact with Wednesday’s storms. Our radar shows inches of rain in some spots including near Doyle and then on the southeast side of Reno and then near Lockwood.

Some of the radar estimated reports could be overdone because of hail. We’ve gotten a few pictures of pea sized hail sent into our newsroom.

This image was taken in Lockwood, NV and was sent in by Devon Tibbens. 

This image shows the possible hail swath in pink from Wednesday afternoon. 


Thursday will be less active, but not entirely quiet, as a front moves through. Best chance for storms Thursday will be in the Basin, with gusty winds in the Truckee Meadows and around Pyramid Lake.

Much cooler air moves in for the later half of the week with temperatures falling below average.

Stay tuned as I plan on making a separate blog post for that. Make sure to stay tuned to KTVN on air and online and we’ll make sure to keep you up to date with any severe weather that does occur.

Have a great day. 

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