Alert: Winter Storm Expected to Bring 3-Foot Snowfall to California, Nevada

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The National Weather Service’s Reno office has issued a comprehensive afternoon discussion, painting a detailed picture of an impending winter storm poised to impact the Tahoe region and extend into western Nevada. This forecast comes as a harbinger of what could be the most substantial snowfall of the season thus far.

The forecast outlines a significant weather event with a 60% chance of 2+ feet of snow at lake level in the Tahoe region, and the Sierra crest potentially bearing the brunt with upwards of 3+ feet of snow. This storm is expected to make its presence felt from Sunday into Tuesday, promising disruptions to travel in the Sierra region.

The timing of the storm is meticulously detailed in the discussion, with impacts expected to commence before sunrise on Sunday in Mono County. The storm is then forecasted to gradually spread northward to Alpine County and the Tahoe Basin. By mid-morning, its influence is expected to spill over into far western Nevada.

The main thrust of moisture, with the highest accumulation rates, is anticipated from late Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. This timeframe is crucial, affecting both the ski commute on Sunday and the morning commute on Monday. While precipitation is expected to persist through at least Tuesday, it is projected to be less intense.

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Probabilities for significant snowfall are outlined in the forecast, with a 30-40% chance of 3+ feet in the Tahoe Basin and Alpine/Mono Counties. South of the Tahoe Basin, areas with longer duration of snowfall are at a higher risk, with a 60-70% likelihood of experiencing 4+ feet of snow. Residents in Sierra communities are strongly advised to prepare and clear areas susceptible to snow accumulation before the storm hits.

In a surprising twist, the forecast suggests that this storm may bring snowfall to western Nevada. There is a 50-70% chance of around a foot of snow in foothill areas above 5000 feet. Specifically, Virginia City and the Highlands area may potentially receive up to 18″ of snowfall. While simulations present a broad range of snowfall amounts, lower valley floors (below 5000 feet) also stand a chance, with a 40% likelihood of up to 4″ and a 20% chance of exceeding 8%. The lowest potential for snow is expected east of Highway 95 for Lovelock and Fallon.

As the storm approaches, residents, businesses, and authorities in the affected regions are urged to stay updated on weather advisories and take necessary precautions. Travel plans should be adjusted considering potential disruptions, and safety measures should be in place to mitigate the impact of heavy snowfall.

This impending winter storm, with its potential for substantial snowfall and its reach into western Nevada, underscores the unpredictable nature of weather patterns in the region. As communities brace for the impact, the importance of preparedness and timely communication cannot be overstated. The next few days are poised to test the resilience of the Tahoe region and western Nevada as they navigate the challenges presented by this formidable winter weather event.

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