Blustery weather heralds storm |

Blustery weather heralds storm

Staff Reports

Winds the like of which Western Nevada has not seen in two years are expected to blast through the area early Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

In a statement issued this afternoon, forecasters said widespread winds of 30-50 mph are expected, with gusts of 60-70 mph, with localized gusts of up to 80 mph south of Washoe Valley and into Mono County.

“We have not had a wind event like this since early 2012,” meteorologists said.

A high wind watch is in effect starting 4 a.m. Thursday, with strong winds with the potential to cause damage. Hazardous driving conditions are expected for high-profile vehicles traveling along Highway 395 or Interstate 80.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the Sierra with 1-3 feet of snow possible above 7,000 feet. Snow levels are expected to drop to 5,000-5,500 feet on Thursday night, with some bands lowering snow levels to lake level early on Thursday.

Wind and snow could combine for local blizzard conditions on the highest passes.

More than half an inch of moisture is forecast for Carson Valley on Thursday and Friday.

A flash flood watch has been issued for central California with 3-5 inches expected for the North Bay valleys and up to 8 inches in the coastal ranges.