A winter weather advisory takes effect 7 p.m. today up at Lake Tahoe in the run-up to the winter storm warning that kicks off 4 a.m. Thursday.
Snow totals of 1-4 inches around Lake level and up to a foot above 7,000 feet are forecast, according to a statement issued by the National Weather Service in Reno.
Winds could gust to 35 mph with the ridges seeing gusts of up to 80 mph.
As of Tuesday morning, all mountain roads are clear of snow controls, but that could change for Wednesday morning when weather could interfere with the commute.
“Snow may mix with rain at times below 6,500 feet Wednesday and Wednesday night,” forecasters said. “Even light snowfall causes major travel delays, especially during periods of high-traffic volume.”
Forecasters are urging residents to take advantage of the relatively mild weather before the brunt of the storm arrives early Thursday morning.
“Once the major storm arrives, travel may be difficult or impossible for an extended period of time,” according to the advisory.
A winter storm warning goes into effect 4 a.m. Thursday, with 4-8 feet of snow expected above 7,000 feet and 2-4 feet at Lake level.
Forecasters said the Western Nevada valleys won’t see much moisture until Thursday through the weekend.
“Snow levels are forecast to drop to all valley floors between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning,” according to the Weather Service. “Yes, there may be accumulating snow even down in Reno-Carson later on Thursday, but the weekend offers the best chance for accumulations in the lower valleys.”
Snow is likely on Christmas through Boxing Day in Minden this weekend, according to the Weather Service.
Minden has received 1.6 inches of moisture in the first three weeks of December, or more than the average of 1.54 inches for the month.
A wet fall will help increase the spring runoff by saturating soils in the mountains before heavy snows arrive.
Minden has recorded a half-foot of snow so far this month, which is twice the average, but well short of the record 20 inches set in 1919.