RENO, Nev. — The first of a pair of back-to-back storms headed for the Sierra Nevada could drop several inches of snow on Lake Tahoe and as much as 18 inches on nearby mountain ridges, forecasters said Wednesday.
The same storm system should carry rain into western Nevada valleys and could bring Las Vegas its most measureable precipitation in nearly three months, the National Weather Service said.
The forecast brought a winter weather advisory from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday for the Reno-Tahoe area and south to Mammoth Lakes.
"Snow will create hazardous driving conditions across all Sierra passes with chain controls and delays likely," the weather service statement said.
Chain controls also were possible in the Tahoe basin on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
Three to six inches of snow was forecast at Lake Tahoe, with even more expected above 7,000 feet. The second wave of wet weather was expected to begin late Friday night and last into Saturday.
"There will only be a brief break between these storms, especially in the Sierra," said Dawn Johnson, a meteorologist for the weather service in Reno.
Heavier snow was expected in the southern Sierra, mostly south of U.S. Highway 50, with rain moving into southern Nevada on Friday night.
A quarter- to one-half inch of rain was expected in Las Vegas Valley, said Barry Pierce, a meteorologist for the weather service in Las Vegas.
"It's not going to be a total washout," he told the Las Vegas Sun.
He warned that the drier-than-average winter could mean slicker driving conditions when the rain hits oil built up on the roadways.