Rivers, creeks and streams swollen with runoff receded Tuesday as rain turned to snow across western Nevada and
the Sierra. Even as the threat of flooding eased, another powerful
storm was bearing down on the region.
Flood warnings were canceled and a winter storm warning for the
Lake Tahoe area was replaced Tuesday afternoon with a winter storm
watch effective through Friday for Tahoe, Reno, Carson City and
Winds topped 160 mph along the Sierra Crest early Tuesday, the
National Weather Service said, and the Nevada Highway Patrol
responded to more than a dozen traffic accidents during Tuesday
morning's rush hour in the Reno-Sparks area.
Snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches were possible in Reno-Sparks
by Wednesday morning.
High winds were forecast by the National Weather Service for
Wednesday ahead of a strong cold front blowing out of the Gulf of
Alaska. The brunt of the winter storm was expected to hit the
Sierra by Thursday.
By Thursday morning, 3 to 5 feet of snow or more was expected at
elevations above 7,000 feet elevation, with up to a foot of snow in
the valleys by Friday evening, the weather service said.
Still, the region was relieved that the threat posed by the
warm, rainy storm had passed, replaced by more seasonal snowfall.
The flood warning for the lower Truckee River in Sparks was
canceled and the city ended an emergency declaration at midday as
colder temperatures settled in the region and storm clouds began to
South of Carson City, snow began falling before dawn after a day
of heavy rain that had emergency personnel on high alert amid fears
of a repeat of a New Year's Eve flood that caused more than $17
"We are not out of the woods yet," Sparks city spokesman Adam
Mayberry said Tuesday. But "at this point, we are cautiously
optimistic we will not reach flood stage."
"We've had a good response from our business owners and
residents in the city of Sparks," he said.
Chains or snow tires were required on mountain road, including
Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. 50 over Echo Summit.
The snow was in stark contrast to a day earlier, when pelting
rain - more than 5 inches in some areas - combined with high snow
levels to cause streams, rivers and creeks to swell with rain
water, runoff and melting snow.