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Record cold and snow engulf California and Nevada, U.S.


Back-to-back cold fronts brought record temperatures and heavy snow to California beginning Friday, November 6, 2020, after months of hot weather and wildfires in the state. Single-day snowfall records were also broken in several areas in Nevada.

In California, a total of 46 cm (18 inches) of snow engulfed Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort over the weekend, followed by 25 cm (10 inches) at Sugar Bowl.

Daytime temperatures plunged to 10 °C (50 °F), with freeze warnings and frost advisories issued for some inland valleys overnight.

On Monday, November 9, the temperature at Oakland Airport dipped to 3.3 °C (38 °F), breaking the cold record of 5 °C (41 °F) set in 2009. Gilroy shivered through a below-freezing -0.5 °C (31 °F), beating the previous record of 1.1 °C (34 °F) set in 1986.

Parts of Southern California have also started experiencing chilly temperatures after months of hot weather and wildfires.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts temperatures significantly below average in the region on Wednesday morning, November 11. Freeze warnings and frost advisories also remain in place.

"Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing," NWS warned.

In the neighboring state of Nevada, single-day snowfall records were broken in several areas including Reno, Carson City, and Yerington. 

Much of the area registered 13 cm (5 inches) of snow, which was considered historic for the date.

"We normally see our first snowfall around the middle of November, but what's so unusual is the amount that fell," said KRNV-DT.

"As a matter of fact, in Reno, we've only seen that much snowfall two other times in history before November 8th. In our region, we have roughly 130 years of record keeping. So that's quite an accomplishment."

NWS Reno Meteorologist Tony Fuentes noted as well that "to get that dramatic temperature change, and the amount of snow we did get is uncommon. We broke some single-day snowfall records down in Yerington."

He continued, "They ended up with about 33 cm (13 inches) of snowfall at the Lyon County Sheriff's office out there."

Several cold records were also broken across the area. Reno and Las Vegas reached record lows for November 8 of 1 and 12 °C (34 and 54 °F).

NWS Reno warned of a series of systems over northeastern California, the Sierra, and western Nevada between late Thursday and Saturday, November 12 and 14, bringing periods of winds and light snow.

"Be ready for travel difficulties due to winds and snow late this week."

Featured image credit: Sierra-at-Tahoe

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