Flash Flooding, Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Oh My!

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RENO, NV -You may have noticed Jeff Thompson has been telling us about thunderstorms more days than not this month. We've experienced them nearly every day for the last week and a half, so is this normal?

It's not unusual to see thunderstorms during the summer in Nevada. We'll often have patterns that stick around for a few days. What is odd about what we are currently experiencing is several days in a row of afternoon severe weather.

Monday evening, Jeff Thompson's warning caught many of us off guard.

"This is something we don't see very often around here. A tornado warning has been issued by the national weather service," said Thompson, Monday night at the top of his 6:30pm weathercast.

We're used to thunderstorms in Washoe county, but a tornado? That's something different.

"We get thunderstorms. But often times the air beneath the the cloud is so dry that even if a funnel wanted to form it would tend to dissipate before it got to the ground," said Chris Smolcom with the National Weather Service

Monday's funnel cloud didn't touch down, neither did the one 6 years ago in 2008. The last time Washoe county actually had a confirmed tornado was on July 24th, 2004 in the North Valleys

"We do get tornadoes. They are not unheard of at all. But they are certainly not on the top of our list of threats," said Kelly Redmond, Regional Climatologist with Desert Research Institute.

In the rare event that a funnel cloud does touch down, we're not going to see catastrophic damage like is common in the Midwest.

"They tend to be kinda on the weak variety. They'll still cause damage to your fence of to your roof, but they tend not to cause the destruction that we see east of the Rockies," said Smolcom.

That doesn't mean they go unnoticed. Even though Monday's the funnel didn't touch down, Palomino Valley was still hammered with wind and rain.

"It has definitely been a little more active than what we are accustomed to in western Nevada," said Smolcom.

Sure, we see thunderstorms and we see flash flooding every summer, this time the pattern is sticking around longer.

"They usually don't last longer than 2, 3, 4 days this one has gone on for some portion of a week, maybe a little longer," said Smolcom.