Reno marks driest year in a century

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Associated Press/Elizabeth Dalziel

Assaf Saloov sat inside an Israeli military base near the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat this month as he described a Palestinian attack which killed two of his friends and wounded him on June 22 near the Jewish settlement of Dugit.By Tom Gardner ~ The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- It wasn't even enough rain to fill a juice glass, just 2.13 inches.

That's all the precipitation Reno got in an entire year.

At midnight Sunday, the conclusion of what the area tracks as its water year, Reno will end its driest year since record keeping began more than a century ago.

The total -- less than Miami got in a single day this week -- wasn't even a third of Reno's normal precipitation, and there isn't so much as a raindrop in the forecast.

And it's not just Nevada that's going dry this year: The National Drought Mitigation Center shows extreme drought -- fourth most severe on a scale of five -- over the northwestern third of Nevada, northeastern California, much of central Oregon, most of eastern Idaho, northwest Colorado and western Montana.

The extent of the drought up the West Coast surprises Kelly Redmond, deputy director and climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center.

Redmond said the drought has scientists puzzled.

"Attempts to tie this in to some sort of large-scale phenomenon almost always look to the Pacific Ocean, and the clues we're getting from the Pacific haven't seemed to help us much," he said.

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