The National Weather Service office in Reno, Nevada has upgraded Winter Storm Warnings to Blizzard Warnings there where incredible heavy snow and powerful winds are expected to produce life-threatening weather conditions. In the office’s latest forecast discussion, meteorologists warn, “Bottom line: Be where you need to be by sundown today–you might be there for a couple of days.” The system impacting the region is part of an unfolding “atmospheric river” event which could drop more than 10′ of snow and more than a foot of rain at lower elevations in the western states.
The Blizzard Warning, which is in effect for the Greater Lake Tahoe area including the cities of South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Stateline, and Incline Village, runs from 10pm tonight to 4am Friday. Total new snow accumulations of 2-4 feet are expected, with amounts of 3-6 feet at elevations above 7,000 feet. Winds are forecast to gust as high as 50 mph in the lower elevations while winds could gust over 100 mph over ridges. With extremely heavy snow and strong winds, blowing snow and prolonged white-out conditions are likely.
There’s also a threat of thundersnow and people are reminded that lightning can kill in any season, including winter. The National Weather Service cautions, “When thunder roars, head indoors.”
The National Weather Service warns, “If you haven’t done so yet, you may want to go over your hazardous weather plans and check your supplies; there won’t be a lot of time for preparations as the next storm arrives tonight and will continue through Thursday night. This storm remains projected to be a major headache for the region and will bring heavy snowfall to the Sierra as well as portions of western Nevada.
Ground travel will become difficult, if not impossible, at times across the region, especially in the Sierra. Numerous road closures are expected due to the heavy snow. The National Weather Service says, “Even a walk outside can become deadly in these conditions.” The weight of the heavy snow could also become problematic for some buildings, creating collapse concern.
This severe winter storm even will move out of the region by Friday, with fair weather temporarily returning to the region to allow those some time to dig-out.