We have a bit of a break Thursday as a brief ridge of high pressure builds across the Great Basin, boosting valley temperatures to near 50 degrees ahead of a very powerful winter storm due to arrive on Friday. Friday’s storm will first be felt with an increase in winds, which could cause some travel problems by both land and air. As the cold air moves in, heavy snow is expected to develop in the mountains, and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 10 am Friday until 4 pm Saturday, with snowfall amounts that could be in excess of a foot at the lake, and significantly higher on the crests. The high winds will combine with the snow to make travel over the mountains very difficult during the warning period, and pass closures are possible.
In the valleys, Friday rain should switch over to snow Friday night, and could accumulate in the valley as much as 2-4” by the morning. The strong westerly flow will create a fair amount of shadowing, and both rain and snow amounts will be much greater on the western side of the valley compared to farther east.