404  
FXUS65 KREV 282145  
AFDREV  
 
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION  
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV  
145 PM PST WED FEB 28 2024  
   
SYNOPSIS
 
 
THE WELL-ADVERTISED MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL USHER IN WIDESPREAD,  
STRONG WINDS AND HEAVY SNOW THURSDAY INTO THE WEEKEND. SIERRA  
TRAVEL WILL BE TREACHEROUS, WITH A PERIOD OF LIFE-THREATENING  
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS SANDWICHED IN FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH  
SATURDAY MORNING. NOW IS THE TIME TO FINALIZE PREPARATIONS AND  
GET TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE!  
 

 
   
DISCUSSION
 
 
CHANGES/BIG PICTURE KEY POINTS:  
 
* A LARGE AND COLD UPPER LOW IS SINKING SOUTHWARD OFF THE PACIFIC  
NORTHWEST COAST TODAY. THE SIZE OF THIS STORM, ITS LOCATION OVER  
THE NORTHEAST PACIFIC AND PLENTY OF COLD AIR ARE ALL THE  
NECESSARY INGREDIENTS FOR A SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM IN THE  
SIERRA AND WESTERN NV THURSDAY INTO THE WEEKEND.  
 
* OVERALL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS HAVE NOT CHANGED MUCH WHEN CONSIDERING  
THE PROJECTED SNOWFALL TOTALS IN FEET FOR THE SIERRA. SNOW  
AMOUNTS FOR FAR WESTERN NV VALLEYS HAVE INCREASED, AND A WINTER  
STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED. THE WORST CONDITIONS (STRONGEST  
WINDS AND HEAVIEST SNOW/MOST WIDESPREAD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS EVEN  
INTO SIERRA COMMUNITIES) WILL OCCUR LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON  
THROUGH MIDDAY SATURDAY. IT WILL BE DURING THIS TIME WHEN THE  
BEST SPILLOVER POTENTIAL WILL OCCUR (INCLUDING THE RENO-CARSON-  
CITY AREA AND VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS). FOR SIERRA LOCATIONS, DON'T  
GET CAUGHT UP IN THE "WORST CONDITIONS" TIMEFRAME. IT IS GOING  
TO BE REALLY BAD THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EVENT!  
 
* STRONG DAMAGING WINDS ARE ALMOST A CERTAINTY. WHITEOUT  
CONDITIONS IN THE MOUNTAINS (EVEN DOWN INTO FAR WESTERN NV AT  
TIMES LATE FRIDAY INTO SATURDAY MORNING) WITH BLOWING DUST  
ACROSS THE BASIN AND RANGE.  
 
* IF WIND AND SNOW WERE NOT ENOUGH, IT WILL BE MUCH COLDER (MID  
WINTER STANDARDS ON THIS ONE). WIND CHILLS WILL DROP BELOW ZERO  
IN THE SIERRA HIGH COUNTRY. THIS REALLY DOES ADD A SERIOUS LIFE  
THREATENING ELEMENT TO THIS STORM AND WHY YOU WANT TO AVOID  
GETTING STUCK!  
 
STORM DETAILS:  
 
* WINDS RAMP UP ACROSS THE SIERRA AND WESTERN NEVADA EARLY  
THURSDAY AND REMAIN STRONG THROUGH SATURDAY WITH NOTABLE EFI  
SIGNATURES THROUGH THE ENTIRE PERIOD. PROJECTED TIME FRAME FOR  
MOST SIGNIFICANT WIND/DAMAGE POTENTIAL WILL BE AHEAD OF THE MAIN  
PRECIPITATION SIGNATURE, LATE THURSDAY MORNING TO EARLY THURSDAY  
EVENING FOR AREAS NEAR AND NORTH OF HWY 50, THEN SHIFTING SOUTH  
INTO MONO-MINERAL COUNTIES FRIDAY-FRIDAY NIGHT. WITH A MAJOR  
STORM LIKE THIS, SIERRA RIDGE WIND GUSTS WILL EASILY EXCEED 100+  
MPH. FOR THE LOWER VALLEYS AND FOOTHILLS, THERE IS A HIGH  
POTENTIAL (80% CHANCE) FOR PEAK GUSTS 55+ MPH WHILE WIND PRONE  
AREAS (US-395/I-580 EASTERN LASSEN COUNTY INTO MONO COUNTY AND  
US-95 NEAR WALKER LAKE) HAVE A 30% CHANCE OF SEEING PEAK GUSTS  
80+ MPH. WINDS MAY DAMPEN AT TIMES DURING HEAVIER PRECIPITATION  
RATES, BUT WILL REMAIN STRONG ENOUGH TO PRODUCE NEAR-ZERO  
VISIBILITY IN THE SIERRA AND THE FOOTHILLS. BLOWING DUST MAY  
ALSO PRODUCE AREAS OF POOR VISIBILITY ACROSS THE BASIN AND  
RANGE.  
 
* HEAVY SNOW WILL BEGIN EARLY THURSDAY MORNING ACROSS NE  
CALIFORNIA, SPREAD TO THE TAHOE BASIN BY LATE MORNING, AND TO  
THE SOUTHERN SIERRA (MONO COUNTY) BY THURSDAY AFTERNOON. ON  
AVERAGE THE SNOW RATES WILL BE BETWEEN 1-3"/HR, BUT WILL PEAK  
FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING AT 3-5"/HR WHEN HEAVY  
SNOW AND STRONG WINDS WILL COMBINE TO PRODUCE WIDESPREAD  
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY WAYS THAT WE CAN SAY  
IT WILL BE TREACHEROUS TO BE TRAVELING ON THE ROADS OR EVEN  
EXITING YOUR HOME DURING THIS TIMEFRAME. WHITEOUT CONDITIONS ARE  
VERY DISORIENTING, SO THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO GAMBLE WITH YOU OR  
YOUR FAMILY'S LIVES. QUICK SNAPSHOT OF SNOW TOTALS: NE CA: 1-3  
FEET FOR W. LASSEN COUNTY (6-14" ALONG HWY 395). PLUMAS & SIERRA  
COUNTIES, TAHOE BASIN TO SONORA PASS: 2-5 FEET SIERRA  
COMMUNITIES, 4-8 FEET ABOVE 6500 FEET. MONO COUNTY SOUTH OF  
SONORA PASS: 1-3 FEET FOR HIGHWAY 395 COMMUNITIES AND 3-6 FEET  
ALONG SIERRA CREST.  
 
* FOR FAR WESTERN NV: SNOW LEVELS WILL START AT VALLEY FLOORS  
THURSDAY NIGHT INTO DAYBREAK FRIDAY FOR A QUICK ROUND OF 1-3"  
SNOW AND SLICK ROAD POTENTIAL FOR THE AM COMMUTE. FOR MUCH OF  
THE DAY, SNOW WILL BACK OFF AND SNOW LEVELS WILL RISE JUST OFF  
THE VALLEY FLOORS, BUT WINDS WILL PICK BACK UP AGAIN AHEAD OF  
THE MAIN SNOW BAND FRIDAY NIGHT-SATURDAY. RATHER THAN GO BACK  
AND FORTH BETWEEN WIND AND SNOW HEADLINES, WE CHOSE TO INCLUDE  
FRIDAY IN THE WINTER STORM WARNING TO ACCOUNT FOR THE  
FLUCTUATION IN WEATHER CONDITIONS. LATEST BLENDED GUIDANCE HAS  
INCREASED FOR SNOW POTENTIAL FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY FOR  
VALLEYS WITH A 50-80% CHANCE OF RENO-CARSON CITY AND SURROUNDING  
VALLEYS SEEING 8" OF SNOW AND EVEN A 30-50% CHANCE OF EXCEEDING  
A FOOT. FOOTHILLS LOCATIONS INCLUDING VIRGINIA CITY WILL EASILY  
EXCEED A FOOT (80-90% CHANCE) WITH A 40-50% CHANCE OF EXCEEDING  
2 FEET. CONSIDERING THE COMBINATION OF WIND/SNOW, A WINTER STORM  
WARNING WAS HOISTED FOR THESE AREAS THURSDAY NIGHT- SATURDAY.  
 
* LINGERING SNOW SHOWERS INTO SUNDAY AS THE MAIN TROUGH ADVANCES.  
TEMPERATURES ARE GOING TO BE MUCH COLDER THIS WEEKEND WITH HIGHS  
STRUGGLING TO REACH 30 DEGREES FOR SIERRA COMMUNITIES AND 40  
DEGREES DOWN HERE. WIND CHILLS WILL EASILY GO BELOW ZERO FOR THE  
SIERRA BACKCOUNTRY AND RIDGES GIVEN OUR EXPECTED WINDS. IT WILL  
FEEL LIKE WE ARE BACK IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER (KINDA LIKE LAST  
YEAR), ESPECIALLY AFTER THE MILD STRETCH THAT IS COMING TO AN  
END. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE WILL LIKELY BE A BREAK EARLY  
NEXT WEEK ALTHOUGH TEMPERATURES WILL BE SLOW TO WARM. ENSEMBLE  
CLUSTERS HINT AT ANOTHER SYSTEM MID TO LATE NEXT WEEK ALTHOUGH  
NOTHING IS LOOKING AS POTENT AS THE INCOMING STORM.  
 
HOHMANN  
 

 
   
AVIATION
 
 
VFR CONDITIONS AND RELATIVELY LIGHT WINDS WILL PREVAIL TODAY INTO  
THE EVENING FOR AREA TERMINALS. THE ONLY EXCEPTION WILL BE SOUTH-  
SOUTHWEST WINDS INCREASING 10-15 KTS THIS EVENING FOR SIERRA  
TERMINALS. KTRK, KTVL, KRNO, KCXP, AND KMEV MAY ALSO SEE POTENTIAL  
FOR INCREASED LLWS AND MOUNTAIN WAVE TURBULENCE AROUND 03-06Z  
ONWARD. RAIN/SNOW AHEAD OF THE EXPECTED WINTER STORM WILL BRING  
PERIODS OF MVFR CONDITIONS TO SIERRA TERMINALS (KTRK-KTVL) IN  
LOWER CIG/VIS DUE TO PERIODS OF INCREASING RAIN/SNOW BY 12-15Z.  
IFR/LIFR CONDITIONS IN MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW, AND WIND GUSTS TO  
25-40KTS, FOLLOW AFTER 18Z. EXPECT WHITEOUT CONDITIONS AND NEAR  
ZERO VISIBILITY DURING PERIODS OF BLIZZARD CONDITIONS FRIDAY  
EVENING INTO SATURDAY MORNING.  
 
-AMANDA  
 

 
   
AVALANCHE
 
 
MAJOR WINTER STORM THURSDAY-SUNDAY: CONTINUED HIGH CONFIDENCE FOR  
VERY STRONG WINDS (RIDGE TOP GUSTS 100+ MPH) COMBINED WITH  
PROLONGED HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES (1-3"/HOUR), STARTING THURSDAY  
MORNING AND CONTINUING INTO THE WEEKEND. PERIODS OF BLIZZARD  
CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING  
WITH SNOW RATES OF 3-5"/HOUR NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION. SNOWFALL  
TOTALS OF 4-8 FEET ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE SIERRA CREST WITH 2-5  
FEET POSSIBLE FOR LAKE TAHOE COMMUNITIES AND AREAS NEAR/WEST OF  
US-395 IN MONO COUNTY. HIGHEST SNOW TOTALS WILL BE NORTH OF SONORA  
PASS. SNOW RATIOS WILL START AROUND 10:1-13:1 THURSDAY BUT  
INCREASE TO 13:1-16:1 THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY. SNOW  
AMOUNTS WILL BE DIFFICULT TO MEASURE AS CONSIDERABLE DRIFTING WILL  
OCCUR. QPF VALUES DURING THIS STORM PERIOD LOOK TO RANGE BETWEEN  
4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE SIERRA CREST SEEING THE HIGHER END OF THE  
RANGE.  
 
HOHMANN  
 

 
   
REV WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES
 
 
NV...HIGH WIND WARNING FROM 7 AM TO 10 PM PST THURSDAY NVZ003-005.  
 
WINTER STORM WARNING FROM 10 PM THURSDAY TO 4 PM PST SATURDAY  
NVZ005.  
 
BLIZZARD WARNING FROM 10 AM THURSDAY TO 10 AM PST SUNDAY NVZ002.  
 
HIGH WIND WARNING FROM 10 AM THURSDAY TO 4 AM PST FRIDAY  
NVZ001-004.  
 
WINTER STORM WARNING FROM 10 PM THURSDAY TO 10 PM PST SATURDAY  
NVZ003.  
 
CA...HIGH WIND WARNING FROM 7 AM TO 10 PM PST THURSDAY CAZ070.  
 
WINTER STORM WARNING FROM 10 PM THURSDAY TO 4 PM PST SATURDAY  
CAZ070.  
 
BLIZZARD WARNING FROM 4 AM THURSDAY TO 4 AM PST SUNDAY CAZ071.  
 
BLIZZARD WARNING FROM 10 AM THURSDAY TO 10 AM PST SUNDAY CAZ072.  
 
BLIZZARD WARNING FROM 4 PM THURSDAY TO 10 AM PST SUNDAY CAZ073.  
 

 
 

 
 
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