Winter comes blowing in

Autumn exited and winter marched in like March in Carson City this week.

Later in this holiday season week, it should continue marching in but more as winter than as the imitation of spring experienced Monday.

Winds and rain hit the capital city during those final daylight hours of autumn, 2015, with the strong winds easily hitting 20 or 25 miles an hour and gusting to 55 or higher. Snow was under way at higher elevations to the west.

“We are expecting the strong winds to continue through tonight,” Chris Smallcomb of the National Weather Service in Reno said Monday afternoon.

Another weather report indicated the winds gusting up to 55, with ridge gusts much higher, could abate some but stay mostly strong through the night time hours. No major damage was reported, Sheriff Ken Furlong said. More than 2,000 were without power for about an hour Monday evening

Smallcomb said the wind also may continue today, the first full day of winter, though the gustiness may prove a tad less robust.

“We’re not as sure about the strong winds,” he said, but at the same time he looking beyond the beginning of winter solstice overnight to a storm gathering to the west as Christmas Eve looms.

Temperatures Monday were well above freezing and mostly in the 40s, with prospects for them to stay in that range in the afternoon hours today.

So Wednesday, Smallcomb said, may be the best day for travel with somewhat lower temperature readings and less wind. Thursday, which is Christmas Eve day, brings that expectation of a wintry storm both in the mountains and in urban areas.

Smallcomb indicated snow is likely to reach the valley floors in Reno and Carson City at some point as the storm moves in. Before that, most of the snow levels are anticipated above the 5,500 foot level in the Sierra Nevada range.

Snow accumulations of one to three feet above an elevation of 7,000 are in the cards, according to various weather analysts, with blowing snow conditions prompting ample talk of caution or warnings against travel to the west.

On Monday, the winds tipped over semis in Washoe Valley and closed Kingsbury Grade for a period of time. The California Department of Transportation reported several accidents on Highway 50, saying traffic was being held in portions of El Dorado County due to multiple cars spinning out. It said a high wind advisory is in effect along Interstate 80 in Yolo County.

Forecasters said the system could dump as much as 3 feet of snow on the highest peaks through Tuesday night, with accumulation totals expected to be around a foot at Lake Tahoe.

“This major winter storm will continue to affect the region through Tuesday morning with heavy Sierra snow, moderate to heavy rain and strong winds,” the National Weather Service said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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