Sierra storm drops snow, leaves little hope for drought relief January 27 2015

A small winter storm is bringing little snow, rain and hope to Northern Nevada as temperatures are expected to reach into the 60s over the weekend, National Weather Service forecasters said Tuesday morning.

A low pressure system is pushing north into the Sierra Crest and Western Nevada, bringing periods of light valley rain and mountain snow showers.

Temperatures are expected to cool off through the end of the week, with a few showers possible south of Highway 50 by Thursday and Friday, forecasters said on the National Weather Service website.

"We're going to see showers for the rest of the day today, on and off rain showers that aren't going to amount to too much, probably less than an inch," Meteorologist Chris Smallcomb said.

"For anyone looking for snow, they'd have to go above 6,000 feet in elevation to find it," he said.

That includes areas near Virginia City, Lake Tahoe and Mount Rose, Smallcomb said.

"We're forecasting maybe an inch or two, and it'd probably be a wet sort of slushy snow, so the roads aren't much of a problem," he said.

The storm is expected to drop up to 4 inches of that slushy snow in areas above 7,000 feet, prompting some road restrictions in the Tahoe area. Chains or snow tires are required along Mount Rose Highway, from Atoma Road to Tahoe Boulevard near north Lake Tahoe.

Restrictions were also set along Nevada State Route 28 from Secret Harbor to Spooner Lake. That includes a portion of Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe.

Rain and high elevation snow were expected to slowly move into western Nevada and northeastern California as the low pressure tracks northward out of Baja, Calif., forecasters said.

"I'm looking at Peavine Peak right now, and I can see a little snow at the top," he said. "It looks more like winter out there now than it did yesterday."

But the small relief doesn't even put a dent to the three-year-long drought that's dried up Northern Nevada, Smallcomb said.

Although January is normally the most important month for snow, today's storm is likely to cross the area and move east by sunset.

"Unfortunately, it'll warm up again," Smallcomb said. "We're looking at high to mid upper 50s, and coming into the weekend I wouldn't be surprised to see temperatures climb into the 60s Sunday and Monday."

"In a typical winter, we would see a couple of substantial storms in January," he said. "The dry stretches are definitely more prolonged than normal.

"But we still have February and March, so there's still hope," he said. "We have quite a hill to climb."