RENO, Nev. — Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts are hoping a series of winter storms forecast across northern Nevada this week will help bolster the dismal snowpack in the Sierra amid one of the warmest winters on record.
Chains or snow tires were required Monday on U.S. Interstate 80 over the top of the Sierra and most of the major mountain passes around Lake Tahoe.
Forecasters said as much as a foot (30 centimeters) of new snow is possible in the mountains around Lake Tahoe by early Tuesday and several inches around Reno, with a much bigger storm expected by Thursday.
A winter-weather advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Monday for the Reno-Tahoe area, where winds were gusting in excess of 60 mph early in the day, and until 4 a.m. Tuesday in northeast Nevada where as much as 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow is possible in the upper elevations around Elko.
Four inches (10 centimeters) of snow already had fallen early Monday on the Sierra's eastern front in Cedarville, California about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Reno. Wind gusts of 66 mph (106 kph) were recorded in Washoe City south of Reno and 63 mph (101 kph) in Sun Valley north of Reno.
"It has been snowing since around 4 a.m.," Squaw Valley Kirkwood Meadows resort posted on its web site Monday. "We are expecting up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow by the time the showers taper off tonight."
Several feet of snow will be possible when a stronger Pacific storm arrives with gusty winds in the Sierra Thursday through Saturday, with rain and snow likely in western Nevada Thursday before changing to all snow, the National Weather Service said.
The average temperature this winter in Reno has been 39.5 degrees — the second-warmest since 1937. The warmest was in 2015.
Colder weather and more snow is expected in March. But Jeff Anderson, hydrologist for the Nevada Natural Resources Conservation Service, warned against being too optimistic.
Dan McEvoy of the Western Regional Climate Center, said the next two to four weeks "are actually looking pretty favorable."
Click to see updated snow reports and conditions: opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe