Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dealing with dry in Nevada

Ashley Hennefer in the Reno News Review: Despite the flurry of late spring storms, Nevada’s dry winter is one of several reasons for the revision of the state’s drought plan—which entails the formation of the Nevada Drought Response Committee comprised of the Nevada State Climate Office, Division of Emergency Management and Division of Water Resources.

The new plan is timely with summer approaching and the wildfires that continue to spring up in the region, including a fire last week in Douglas County, which destroyed two homes.

According to the drought plan document, the plan “identifies a system to use in monitoring the magnitude, severity and extent of drought within the state on a county-by-county basis; sets a framework in place for actions based on three stages of drought response: drought watch, drought alert and drought emergency; establishes a drought response committee to implement the plan, report to the governor and assemble task forces to serve as experts in drought-affected areas as liaisons to local and federal government and sources of information; [and] outlines the significance of a drought event and types of drought encountered in Nevada.”

The committee has placed a stage 2 (severe) drought alert on Churchill, Clark, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Pershing, Storey, Washoe and White Pine counties. Stage 1 (moderate) drought watch counties include Carson, Douglas, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral and Nye. According to the drought plan, a stage 3 ranking would require action, including an emergency drought declaration, and could lead to the activation of Nevada’s Emergency Operations Center.

While some scientists say that the droughts are partly affected by climate change, Nevada has a long history of severe droughts that can last for years...

A silver albumen print of a photograph by Timothy H. O'Sullivan of desert sand hills near sink of Carson, Nevada, 1867

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