According to Dawn Johnson, National Weather Service Meteorologist, our region is on-track to receive a moderate winter storm this weekend with snow levels falling to the valley floor by Saturday morning.
Johnson said that the system has slowed a bit, with precipitation expected to push into the western Sierra between 6:00 and 10:00 Friday morning.
The first piece of this system will be extremely shadowed, so precipitation will be confined to the Sierra crest westward. There will be little spillover into the Tahoe Basin and nothing anticipated in western NV on Friday.
Snow levels will be in the 6000-7500 foot range during this initial piece, with most accumulation limited to above 6500 feet.
“The second piece of the system arrives Friday night into Saturday,” explains Johnson, “which is when we anticipated precipitation spillover into the eastern Sierra and western Nevada.”
This also brings a cold front through the region with snow levels falling to 4500 – 5000 feet Saturday morning.
The strongest winds are anticipated early Friday morning through the afternoon. We are still looking at valleys gusting in the 30 to 50 mph range with the strongest winds likely along the Highway 395 corridor and the Sierra Front. Winds now look to continue to be gusty into Saturday, but with more widespread precipitation, are not expected to be as strong as Friday.
Sierra ridges, however, will be gusting upwards of 100 mph, which along with the snow will create white out conditions in the High Sierra and dangerous back country recreation.
While snow may mix with rain down to all valley floors, accumulation is not expected.