Late-season storm to bring gusty winds but not much moisture to Reno area

Snow blankets the Lake Tahoe region on Feb. 1, 2021.

A late-season storm will bring rain, snow and gusty winds to the region Thursday into Friday.

The storm will be ushered in by south to southwest winds of up to 40 mph on valley floors and 80 to 100 mph on Sierra ridges, creating choppy lake conditions, difficult travel for high-profile vehicles and turbulence for aviation, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm is expected to touch down by mid-afternoon, with the highest precipitation rates Thursday afternoon and evening.

But, “there’s not going to be much,” Meteorologist Dawn Johnson said. “We’re going to get rain-shadowed out for a while. And snow levels are really high.”

Snow levels will start around 6,500 to 7,500 feet before dropping lower tonight, likely causing travel problems over mountain passes.

“This is the type of storm that will bring significantly more snow to western Sierra slopes than areas east of the crest,” according to the weather service. “Steadier snow may continue in the Sierra on Friday south of Lake Tahoe. Otherwise we`ll see scattered snow/snow pellet showers Friday with the potential for even a rumble of thunder, but additional snow accumulation will be minimal.”

Areas south of Lake Tahoe could continue to see snow through Friday, Johnson said.

On the west side of the Sierra, a winter weather advisory is in effect through midnight Friday, where snow levels will drop as low as 5,000 feet. The snow is expected to be wet at times. Accumulations will range anywhere from 5-16 inches.

Amy Alonzo covers the outdoors, recreation and environment for Nevada and Lake Tahoe. Reach her at aalonzo@gannett.com or (775) 741-8588. Here’s how you can support ongoing coverage and local journalism