Winter climbing back into the driver’s seat
Trees are budding, daffodils are blooming and a blustery blast of winter weather will escort spring into Western Nevada this week.
Those buds may have trouble clinging to the branches in the 50 mph winds forecast for Saturday with a wind advisory and fire weather watch.
And by the end of the weekend, Nevadans may see some snow decorating those daffodils.
Spring officially arrives on Thursday and the forecast includes a chance of snow through Wednesday night.
A strong storm was expected to arrive late today with strong winds followed by snow in the Sierra with accumulations on the valley floors by Sunday morning and again on Monday morning.
“The forecast remains on track with an abrupt change from spring-like weather (Friday) back to winter weather this weekend,” said National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Zach Tolby. “A dynamic late season storm is forecast to slowly slide down the West Coast through the weekend bringing heavy snow to the mountains, rain and snow to the valleys and strong gusty winds throughout the region.”
After a nice blast of snow that brought a half-foot to parts of Carson Valley on March 1, the rest of the month has been dry, with average high temperature around 59 degrees, a degree above average for the first half of the month. Low temperatures were a tad colder than average, due to clear skies at night.
Those dry conditions prompted the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch until the front arrives around 5 p.m. Saturday. That’s when a winter storm watch kicks off that will last until late Monday morning.
Accumulations of up to 1-3 inches are possible for areas of Western Nevada, with 4-10 inches possible above 5,500 feet.
Saturday could see southwest winds gusting to 55 mph, which could damage trees and knock out power.
Forecasters are predicting that travel over the Sierra passes could be difficult and that commuters could see some slick road conditions on Monday morning.
The weekend’s storm is unlikely to make much of a dent in dry conditions across the Sierra this winter.
However, the weather doesn’t have a calendar and just as springlike conditions have dominated much of the winter, the Sierra have seen plenty of instances where significant snow has fallen as late as Mother’s Day in May.