An unusually cold winter storm for this time of year is moving into the Sierra and Western Nevada Tuesday, before lingering through the remainder of the week.
A winter storm warning is in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Early Tuesday gusty winds could create turbulence for anyone flying in for Thanksgiving. Strong crosswinds are also possible along Highway 395, where gusts of 40-60 miles per hour are possible. The strongest winds are expected to arrive before the snow on Tuesday.
A strong cold front also will sweep south during the day Tuesday and usher in colder air along with periods of snow into Wednesday.
Snow may fall as low as 2,000 feet, leading to a significantly longer commute time for anyone traveling down the western Sierra slope and across Western Nevada.
In the higher elevations of the Sierra, one foot or more of snow is possible from Tuesday through late Wednesday. In the Sierra valleys, five to 10 inches of snow are possible.
In the lower valleys of Western Nevada and Northeast California, up to three inches of snow are possible. Anyone with travel plans in the Sierra may have to consider alternate routes and departure times.
After the snow stops falling, the coldest air this season — and possibly since January 2013 — is expected to settle over the region from Tuesday night into Saturday.
Temperatures will struggle to reach the freezing mark for most locations Wednesday to Saturday, while overnight lows plummet into the single digits and teens. Mountaintop temperatures will likely remain below 20 degrees through the holiday weekend.
Highs are expected to remain in the 20s in the Sierra valleys and upper 20s to lower 30s across Western Nevada and Northeast California. Wind chill temperatures in the higher elevations can fall as low as 20 degrees below zero.
Holiday revelers are reminded to wear warm clothing if heading outside, and keep pets and livestock protected from the cold and insulate water lines accordingly.