CARSON CITY, Nev. – Don Quilici has snookered a few Carson City newcomers with bets that it would snow the week of his birthday in early May. Unsuspecting gamblers often don’t know that a sliver of the western Nevada city’s boundaries extend to Lake Tahoe and encompass Snow Valley Peak at a towering 9,214 feet.
“I’d win eight out of 10 years,” Quilici, 80, said. Lately, though, he hasn’t been so lucky. That’s because the capital city is getting hotter.
An Associated Press analysis of federal temperature records shows Carson City has warmed more than any other city in the nation in the last 30 years. The average temperature in Carson City has risen 4.1 degrees since 1984. Boise, Idaho, came in second, posting a rise of 4 degrees. Las Vegas, known for its sweltering summers, was sixth, with an increase of 3.4 degrees.
But it’s the boost in summertime heat that really makes Carson City stand out. The average temperature for June, July and August has soared 6.8 degrees over the last three decades, 2.2 degrees warmer than second-place Boise and 2.4 degrees higher than third-place Las Vegas.
The summertime average temperature is up from about 68 degrees to nearly 75.
The change in Carson City — which grew to a population of 55,000 from about 35,000 in 1984 — is becoming noticeable in subtle ways. Plants and trees are prone to bloom earlier, and more people are installing air conditioners, which were once a rarity. And as the city has grown, more roads, asphalt, homes and commercial development have cropped up — ingredients for heat absorption and urban warming.