Jacobs: Chasing weather in Central Nevada brings challenges


Covering the harsh winter weather around Tonopah and nearby areas isn’t the easiest of tasks.

A couple of weeks ago I was out by the Tonopah Station hotel-casino and trying to take photos near Logan Field. It didn’t seem like a lot of snow on the street, but somehow my car got stuck for about 20 minutes. I spun my way out of what apparently was a patch of ice under the snow and made my way to Goldfield in time for another assignment.

A couple of days later when I was trying to get some updated weather photos back in Tonopah, I somehow shredded parts of my shoes. Luckily, my feet are fine. I think it was some sharp rocks near a snowy area I had parked out of the way of traffic.

It could have been worse. When I took a wrong turn this fall and ended up on a dirt road near Silver Peak, one of my car’s tires took the hit. Luckily, they are “run-flat” tires so I made it back OK and got the tire replaced. The dirt road was really smooth so I’m thinking I hit a nail or something sometime earlier and being on the dirt road when trouble occurred was just a coincidence.

In about 13 years of living in Reno before coming to Tonopah, I can never recall getting stuck in the snow, damaging my tires or shredding shoes while on story assignments.

When it comes to chasing weather information, the hardest part is that it’s always changing. That’s an obvious fact, but that means my stories need frequent updating.

If you are like me and are not a big fan of winter, changing weather conditions can be a good thing. After a getting through a blustery day, there’s always hope that the next one will be a little warmer and possibly with a little more sun and less wind.

Just getting the basics for weather stories here in Central Nevada is a little complicated. It also can be three times the work when tracking down the information.

That is because, as it turns out, our region is served by three separate National Weather Service offices all around Nevada. The Elko office covers Tonopah and Round Mountain. The Las Vegas office covers Goldfield. But when you get west of Tonopah toward Hawthorne, that is the weather service office in Reno. The Reno office also covers the Bishop, California area.

Since many in our region travel to Bishop for supplies and services, I need to check on conditions there in case rough weather affects travel conditions, prompting road controls such as chains or snow tires.

And since locals also travel to Reno and Las Vegas for medical appointments or other services, keeping an eye on weather conditions there also is on my checklist when I’m going through my reporter’s notebook.

In case you have not seen the Facebook page of the Times-Bonanza, I encourage readers to look there for additional information about developing weather that could affect your travels.

I am still experimenting with some content ideas in an attempt to provide more real-time information to our readers and Facebook fans. Ideas include live links to weather service radar and forecasts, Nevada and California Departments of Transportation chain and snow tire requirement lists and NDOT traffic cams.

The Times-Bonanza also is on Twitter. I would be interested in hearing your ideas on how to use that service to enhance our weather or other breaking news coverage of events such as power outages, weather-related school closures, traffic crashes or brush fires during the wildfire season.

If you have some ideas or stories for me to look into, please send me a note at djacobs@tonopahtimes.com

Until next time, have a great week.

Contact reporter David Jacobs at djacobs@tonopahtimes.com