This briefing is an update from the National
Weather Service in Reno for the series of winter storms that will impact the Sierra
and western Nevada this weekend. Strong downslope winds are possible in the
immediate lee of the Sierra including Reno, Carson City, and Mono County through Saturday
morning. Gusts up to 70 mph are possible for wind prone areas along Hwy 395 and Interstate
580. The atmospheric river shown in this graphic
reached the Ca coast this morning. This will bring periods of heavy snow to the Sierra
today through Sunday night, especially above 8000 feet, along with moderate to heavy rain
at times in western Nevada. Small creeks in the Tahoe Basin and creeks draining from the
Carson Range, including Steamboat Creek could rise to their banks or even out of their banks.
Poorly drained urban areas and locations near the Bison Fire burn scar could also experience
flooding of low lying areas. The Susan and Walker river basins will also see sharp rises
on small creeks and streams but are less likely to see flooding. Given the increased travel around the area
for the weekend – this is part of the forecast everyone should keep an eye on. Conditions
over Sierra passes are expected to be very poor with significant travel delays becoming
likely as snow rates increase this evening. The next wave will bring moisture onshore
off the Pacific and into the Sierra through early Saturday morning. Snow levels are beginning
to rise and will reach 8000 feet by Saturday afternoon. Snow totals near the crest will
be around 2 feet with 6 inches for Sierra valleys. There will be limited spillover into western
Nevada with this round of precipitation as winds aloft are not favorable. Winds along
the Sierra Front will gust up to 55 mph and locally up to 70 mph. This includes the Reno
and Carson City area southward into eastern Mono County.
These graphics show forecasted snowfall on the left and liquid equivalent on the right
through Saturday noon. Western NV will see lighter amounts during this period due to
the shadow effect of the Sierra. The main heavy rain/snow event is expected
from Saturday afternoon into early Monday morning. Snow levels around 8000 feet won’t lower
until Sunday, when they may fall to near 7000 feet by Sunday afternoon. The storm track
continues to suggest that areas from Bridgeport northward have the best shot at heavy snows
– but localized totals in Mono County could be significant as well. There is potential
for up to three feet of snow in the Sierra above 8000 feet. The best period for heavy
rain into western NV will be Saturday night into Sunday.
Here’s a look at the total precipitation forecast through Monday noon. Snow totals
are on the left and liquid equivalents on the right. The Sierra crest may see upwards
of 8 inches of liquid by the time this event wraps up.
Travelers over Sierra passes this entire weekend through Monday morning are encouraged to check
road conditions and prepare for winter driving conditions. Forecast confidence is low at
this time regarding the risk of small stream flooding, but increasing with regards to rain,
snow, and gusty wind. Please check weather.gov/reno or other local weather sources for updated
information. Thanks for listening!