Snowy Thanksgiving in the forecast, travel through the Sierra expected to be heavily impacted

A winter storm is forecast to impact the Truckee-Tahoe area on Thanksgiving week, likely causing heavy impacts on travel through the Sierra ahead of one of the busiest holidays.

The National Weather Service office in Reno has issued a special weather statement for the Sierra and Western Nevada ahead of the storm, which should bring heavy snow to the region beginning late Tuesday afternoon.

“The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is already one of the busiest travel days of the year, and with heavy snow expected for the Sierra and western Nevada, travel impacts will be significant,” said the weather service in its statement. “Please plan your holiday travel accordingly. If you have travel (plans) coming up next week, make sure to prepare your vehicle for winter travel conditions.”

Snow levels are expected to fall to around 2,000 feet by Tuesday night, creating the possibility for slick and snowy road conditions from Western Nevada to the western foothills of the Sierra.

“It’s coming directly down the coast,” said Shane Snyder, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Reno. “Tuesday, it’s going to start dropping down through the British Columbia coast. It basically just drops straight down the Pacific Coast.”

The heaviest period of snow is forecast to be from Tuesday night through Wednesday. As of Friday morning, the weather service declined to give a forecast on the amount of snow that is expected to fall, but Snyder said multiple feet are expected to come down at higher elevations, along with a “significant” amount of snowfall in Truckee.

“What we know is the impacts are going to be huge,” said Snyder in regard to traveling through the area. “It’s coming in. People should consider that in their plans.”

The system is also very cold, bringing lows in Truckee down into the teens by Tuesday night. The storm will deliver drier, fluffier snow, according to Snyder, as opposed to the wetter “Sierra Cement” known to fall in the region.

Scattered showers are forecast for Wednesday night and into Thursday, said Snyder, before the storm begins to move out of the area sometime during the weekend.

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