Warnings blanket Nevada as winter storm gains strength

RENO, Nev. (AP) — All of Nevada remains under hazardous weather warnings, watches and advisories including a rare blizzard warning at Lake Tahoe, winter storm warnings in northeast Nevada to the Utah line and a high-wind alert in Las Vegas.

As much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow is possible in the upper elevations of the Sierra around Tahoe by late Friday, where more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow fell Thursday and schools were closed on the lake’s north shore in Incline Village and Truckee, California.

Whiteout conditions closed nearly 100 miles (160 kilometers) of U.S. Interstate 80 for several hours west of the Nevada-California line and chains or snow tires were required Thursday night on all major highways over the mountain passes.

The blizzard warning remained in effect for the Tahoe area until 4 a.m. Friday, when the heaviest snow is expected with wind gusts possible in excess of 100 mph (160 kph). A winter storm warning continues there until 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Travel will be difficult to impossible,” the National Weather Service said Thursday afternoon.

“In some areas, road closures, damage to some trees and power lines is likely. Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility down to near zero at times, especially in higher elevations … You could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours,” the service said.

In Reno and Carson City where rain and light snow fell Thursday, a winter weather advisory is set to expire at 10 a.m. Friday. But a storm warning continues until Saturday afternoon in north-central and northeast Nevada. The National Weather Service says more than a foot of snow is expected in the Ruby Mountains near Elko.

In southern Nevada, a high-wind warning continues until 4 a.m. Saturday from Pahrump and Beatty, to Pioche, Caliente and Panaca near the Utah line.

A wind advisory continues until 4 a.m. Saturday for the Las Vegas area, where Clark County health officials have issued an air quality alert for Friday due to the possibility of elevated levels of blowing dust in winds gusting up to 50 mph.

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