A Series Of Western Storms Will Just Dump On The Sierra Nevada!

National Blend Of Models (NBM) 5-day Storm Total Precipitation Forecast.

A Series Of Western Storms Will Just Dump On The Sierra Nevada!

Over the next week, a series of powerful Western U.S. winter storms will just dump on the Sierra Nevada Mountains and nearby areas. This is one of those events that you just sit back and marvel at...and one for the record books too!

Over the course of the next five days (today through next Monday morning) the National Blend of Models (NBM) is forecasting 129" of snowfall (just short of 11 feet) and nearly 12" of rain for areas highlighted above. Through in some mountain wind gusts of 85 mph at the higher elevations and you have the makings of a historic set of winter storms...blizzards.

This Mornings Reno, NV Area Forecast Discussion (AFD).

 Area Forecast Discussion 
  National Weather Service Reno NV 
  231 AM PST Wed Dec 22 2021 
  Stormy weather continues this with rain and snow, mainly for the  
  Sierra and northeast California. Be prepared for major travel  
  disruptions and delays over Sierra passes, especially Thursday. Be  
  prepared for winter travel conditions as heavy snow will continue in  
  the Sierra through most of the holiday weekend, with chances for  
  accumulating snow down into western Nevada valleys Friday.   
  .SHORT TERM (Through Wednesday Night)... 
  The main message remains the same, "Travel across the Sierra will be  
  difficult to impossible at times through the holiday weekend". 
  . Snow which had already started over NE California and progress  
    south into the higher elevation areas around the Lake Tahoe Basin.  
    Impacts over Donner Summit/Carson Pass should continue through  
    Wednesday into Thursday morning.  
  This first system is the short delay of colder air and precipitation  
  into the West Coast as the upper trough splits and flattens the  
  upper ridge that stubbornly shifts east in the central Rockies. Much  
  of the stronger forcing will lift northeast into OR, but enough  
  forcing will remain to complement the weak isentropic lift into the  
  Sierra, northeast CA, and for northwest NV.  
  Snow levels may start low this morning at ~4500-6000 feet as  
  precipitation moves into the region with colder air still trapped in  
  many valleys. Through Wednesday, a gradually increasing southerly  
  flow may push snow levels as high as 7000-7500 feet over the much of  
  the Sierra south of I-80 to include the Lake Tahoe Basin. The rising  
  snow levels may only bring light snow to the lower elevations of NE  
  California and the Tahoe Basin. Snow levels are currently expected  
  to peak Wednesday afternoon below descending slowly through  
  Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Above about 7000` we should  
  still see around foot or so of new snow with more on the way.   
  Although much the Reno area will be largely spared during this first  
  winter system, most areas below 6000 feet will see mostly rain. But  
  there is a slight chance surrounding higher foothill areas could  
  receive up to an inch of accumulated snow early Thursday morning as  
  snow level start to slowly inch across the region. 
  In western Nevada, expect breezy winds over most areas with  
  increased chances of rain showers spreading into the rest of Western  
  Nevada Wednesday afternoon through Thursday as this first impulse  
  moves further inland. Winds across the Sierra crest will be howling  
  from the southwest 75-85 mph. -Amanda 
  .LONG TERM (Thursday Onward)...  
  ...Main Takeaways Upfront...   
  1. The forecast remains on track to see several rounds of  
  significant snowfall, eventually spreading into Western NV by  
  2. Major travel impacts with very long delays and possible road  
  closures across Sierra and NE California passes. Hazardous driving 
  conditions may persist over higher elevation roadways even if  
  temporary breaks in snowfall intensity occurs. Chain controls are  
  almost guaranteed, so do not attempt traversing the Sierra through 
  early next week without being properly prepared for winter  
  3. Check your flight status regularly and be sure your patience  
  is packed in the suitcase. Consider downloading apps for CALTRANS  
  and NDOT (QuickMap and NVRoads, respectively) and frequently check 
  road conditions before venturing out.  
  4. While spillover precipitation is likely to occur into western  
  NV by Thursday morning, this is expected to be rain due to high  
  snow levels until colder air arrives on Friday. Expect winter  
  driving conditions into lower valleys to be possible through the  
  5. Very chilly temperatures look to arrive for New Years weekend  
  with widespread highs at or below freezing. 
  ...Nitty-Gritty Details... 
  By the start of the period Thursday morning, hi-resolution models 
  agree on the initial push of spillover precipitation into Western 
  NV to begin around this time. This is not to say that periodic  
  bouts of rain showers and high elevation snow will not occur in  
  the short-term. It just suggests the strongest mid-level winds  
  (with orthogonal trajectory to the Sierra), moisture push, and  
  forcing out ahead of the upper level trough will result in more  
  favorable spillover set up. Consequently, this is when we expect  
  precipitation rates to get cranking in the Sierra, which is  
  reflected by the start time of the upgrade from Winter Weather  
  Advisory to Winter Storm Warning for Greater Tahoe Area and  
  Northeast CA. 
   -Caveat time... Snow levels do not look super impressive to start 
    with,as southerly warm air advection looks to keep things 
    ranging from 6000ft across NE CA to 6500-7000 across Tahoe Basin 
    to 7500 for the Eastern Sierra. This makes Thursday morning a 
    troublesome forecast as Mono county and the eastern Sierra 
    should see very intense snowfall rates, but snow levels will be 
    right around I-80 pass level and likely just above Lake Tahoe 
    level. Probabilistic snow-level guidance keeps Donner pass right 
    around a 50/50 shot of being all snow (with periodic mixing at 
    times) and just about no chance of snow at lake level (should be 
    rain, with perhaps some mixed precip at times).  
  As the upper level trough approaches the region, colder air will 
  get pushed into the area through the day on Thursday, resulting  
  in a gradual trend downward in snow levels. BY Thursday afternoon, 
  those north of US-50 should see snow levels between 5000-6000ft  
  from north to south. Outside of Sierra ridges, the strongest winds 
  at this time look to be down south across the 395 corridor in  
  Mono county, in addition to northern Washoe. Nothing blockbuster,  
  but it could result in areas of blowing snow and reduced  
  Snow levels will crash as the cold front approaches the region  
  Thursday night. We should see a full transition to snow for the  
  lower valleys by Friday morning, with nothing really suggesting  
  they will rise above valley floors through the remainder of next  
  week so they will no longer be a major forecast concern... 
  As suggested in previous forecast issuance, the biggest concern  
  for widespread (all of NE California and Western Nevada) travel  
  impacts will start Friday, as model consensus is in rather good  
  agreement of accumulating snowfall in the lower elevations  
  starting this time. It is challenging to pinpoint a clear-cut  
  break in the action at any point through Tuesday, as no ensemble  
  cluster is in good agreement as far as timing goes. In other  
  words, GFS ensemble provides a slight break both Saturday morning  
  and especially Monday afternoon where as European ensemble shows a 
  lull late Friday night and Sunday evening. It`s worth noting that 
  all ensemble clusters have high-end "tails" through these time  
  periods, hence the difficulty in saying with certainty when we  
  will see a break in precipitation. It`s best to prepare for some  
  level of impacts through this entire time period and we should get 
  better ideas in the coming days of when breaks in the action, if  
  any, can be anticipated.  
  Greatest chance for strong to even damaging winds will arrive  
  Sunday, with about a 30-40% chance damaging winds (60mph or  
  greater) across Surprise Valley, 30% along US-395 in Washoe  
  Valley, and a 40% chance along US-395 between Topaz Lake and  
  Bridgeport. It`ll officially be after Christmas, so your  
  decorations may not be able to hangout through New Years...  
  A couple of slider-like systems look to drop into the region from 
  the north next region Monday, Wednesday, and again on Friday. The 
  coldest signals are Wednesday and Friday, however. Each of these  
  will bring an additional shot of snowfall along with reinforcing  
  cold air. If you dislike chilly temperatures now will be the time  
  to take that trip to Florida you`ve been promising your kids. All  
  of us may struggle to get above freezing through all of next  
  weekend. Brr 
  LLWS and moderate turbulence due to mountain waves for all terminals  
  will persist through Wednesday night. 
  A series of systems that approach the area will bring rounds of  
  heavy mountain snow. Visibilities will be diminished greatly with  
  mountain obscuration likely and periods of LIFR/IFR for KTRK and  
  KTVL the remainder of this morning into Wednesday night. For the  
  valleys and terminals such as KRNO, KCXP, and KMEV, light to  
  moderate precipitation could be in the form of rain/snow transitions  
  at times on Thursday. 
  Flight conditions will include icing issues and wind gusts that will  
  create moderate to severe turbulence and LLWS. Friday, snow levels  
  will drop to valley floors, bringing increased chances of snow to  
  all terminals.  
  .REV Watches/Warnings/Advisories... 
  NV...Winter Weather Advisory until 4 AM PST Thursday NVZ002. 
       Winter Storm Warning from 4 AM Thursday to 4 PM PST Sunday  
  CA...Winter Weather Advisory until 4 AM PST Thursday above 5000 feet  
       in CAZ071. 
       Winter Storm Warning from 4 AM Thursday to 4 PM PST Sunday  
       Winter Storm Warning from 4 PM this afternoon to 4 PM PST Sunday  
       Winter Weather Advisory until 4 AM PST Thursday CAZ072. 
       Winter Storm Warning from 4 AM Thursday to 4 PM PST Sunday  
 For more information from the National Weather Service visit...

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