Why North Valleys Gets More Snow - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Why North Valleys Gets More Snow

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The mountains get most of the snow around here but when you compare the North Valleys and Stead to Reno, they usually get at a little more.

The reason why mainly has to do with shadowing. The bigger the barrier, the harder time the snow or rain has of making it over the hill. Looking southwest from Reno you can see how massive the Sierra is. For a frame of reference, Mt. Rose being is just over 10,000 feet in elevation. On the other hand when you go to the North Valleys the height of the mountains there are at least several thousand feet lower in spots. 

Most of our winter storms have south westerly flow aloft which brings the precipitation up from that way as well. Which means it has to get over Mt. Rose to make it into Reno. You can see the difference in elevation clearly on radar as well. One of the storms from a couple weeks ago, when we all got snow, is a prime example of this. Notice how the North Valleys got around a foot of snow and at the Reno Airport we got around seven inches. Looking at the past few years, Stead usually gets a few more inches as well. Last year Stead got nearly 35 inches of snow and the Reno Airport got 27. Now there are other factors as well. For starters the airport is lower in elevation and usually way warmer, but the shadowing aspect does play a role as well. 

Sometimes some unique things can happen too. A few weeks ago when the north side got several inches of snow and the south side got nothing?That was because the system just lost steam and stalled out before moving south. 

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