Mineral County residents were surprised when a “Tonopah Low” blew through the area last weekend, leaving much needed snow on the valley floor.
A Tonopah or Nevada Low is an unusual weather occurrence that forms in the lee of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, around Tonopah.
Most common in the springtime, these lows produce heavy precipitation on the eastern facing slopes of the mountains.
History describes a “Tonopah Low” as a northeasterly to southeasterly flow that brings in polar air, low clouds and snowfall in the mountain ranges.
Reports of the accumulation of snow varied. In some areas, snow drifts up to two feet high were reported and up to five to 12 inches of snow on the measured flat.
The accumulation of snow on the roadways of Mineral County proved interesting to those having to travel the slick roads.
Mineral County Undersheriff Bill Ferguson reports that there were 12 accident calls over the two-day period (Sunday and Monday).
On Monday morning, the Mineral County dispatcher was kept busy with back-to-back calls for vehicles either sliding off the road or worse. Ambulance attendances found themselves being dispatched to multiple calls within only miles and minutes apart.
By Monday night, much of the snow had melted off, causing some ice on road and walkways. In place of the snow, came frigid winter weather. Some places reporting a morning high of only 12 degrees.