How The Weather Here Can Change So Fast - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

How The Weather Here Can Change So Fast

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With all the crazy weather we can get around here there can be some truth to the phrase, "wait five minutes and the weather can change."  It's all because of storms moving through and the different processes going on in the atmosphere. 

Take the second week of April for example: temperatures were in the upper 60's Wednesday with partly cloudy skies, a pretty spring-like day, and then we woke up to snow Thursday morning. 

Highs Thursday were only in the 40's, or about twenty degrees below average. Following our nice Friday, it could start all over again later this weekend as another front moves through. Sometimes fronts can move through fairly quickly in a matter of minutes and other times it takes hours. We usually get our wind, snow or rain shortly before the front arrives. It's even possible to go from heavy rain one minute to winter-like conditions if the front is strong enough. 

Behind the front can be a little crazy, too. What happens is you have a layer of cool air aloft and warm air below it at the surface. This is called "instability" and is based on the principal that warm air rises. This makes the air unsettled enough for either snow or rain showers to pop up from time to time. The heat from the sun can actually give us a better chance for showers in the afternoon. Warm parcels of air rise, form clouds and produce brief showers.  That's why it can be dry and sunny where you live but storming only ten minutes away. Once the low moves out of here, high pressure moves in behind it and clears us up. 

The weather can be fascinating to watch and can change quickly, but that's what's so great about science.

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