Weather and Climate
Churchill County has a desert climate with hot summers and cold winters. With an elevation of 3,965 feet, Fallon’s daytime and nighttime temperatures vary greatly, especially in the summer. The climate is dry — average yearly rainfall is 5 inches — because it lies in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada. Summer days can be hot, but nighttime temperatures are cooler than in deserts such as the Mojave, Sonora and Chihuahua. In the winter, daytime temperatures are usually above freezing, but nights can be bitterly cold. The area can experience ice fog in winter. Churchill County receives on average of 7 inches of snow each year. The warmest months are July and August, with an average high of 92 degrees and an average low of 54 degrees. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 44 degrees and an average low of 18 degrees.
Every second counts in a disaster, so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.
The Nevada Division of Emergency Management-Homeland Security coordinates efforts to protect lives and property and to prevent, respond to and recover from threats, hazards and emergencies. The division has developed a State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan aimed at preventing loss of life and injuries; reducing damage to infrastructure, buildings and homes; and protecting the environment. For more information about disaster preparedness, visit www.dem.nv.gov.
The following are considered significant hazards in Nevada.
While Churchill County has low annual precipitation, flash flooding does pose an occasional threat. The terrain cannot absorb the water quickly enough, and dry channels, ditches and lake beds can fill quickly. This can lead to flash floods.
A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and property-threatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in flash floods occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact, and water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, can cause blistering sunburns, as well as long-term problems like skin cancer, cataracts and immune system suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and dim day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and an umbrella.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power, bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail, and spin a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” Once inside, avoid electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures and use only a cordless telephone in an emergency. Unplug your desktop computer. Do the same with other plugged-in electronics or use surge protectors. The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — the length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap. For more safety information, visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.