Video/News: Overnight snow expected for Reno-Sparks; Friday commute could be slick

Still wondering when you’ll see snow in Reno? Maybe Thursday night. A giant winter storm hit western Nevada early Thursday morning, dropping 3 to 4 inches and up to 8 inches of snow along the western shore of Lake Tahoe, according to National Weather Service forecasters.

Chains and snow tires were required on mountain roads, including I-80 over Donner Pass and around Lake Tahoe. “Our best chance down here will be tonight into tomorrow morning (in Reno),” said meteorologist Scott McGuire, of the National Weather Service. 

The storm prompted the California Highway Patrol to temporarily shut down Interstate 80 in both directions for about three hours between Truckee and Colfax because of the high winds and whiteout conditions. Since about 3 p.m., the roads have been reopened to passenger vehicles only. Tractor trailers were still being turned around, the California Department of Transportation said in a Twitter post.

The Lake Tahoe Airport reported high winds with gusts up to 40 mph. The stormy weather prompted officials to cancel classes at Incline Village schools, according to an announcement form the Washoe County School District. On Thursday, students also got a snow day in the Truckee area, according to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Five crashes were reported in the Reno area by 9:45 a.m. Thursday. NHP was bracing for more as the storm continued to creep toward the valley from the Sierra, according to Matt McLaughlin of the Nevada Highway Patrol.  “I’m anticipating the number to grow, unfortunately as we get later on into the day and into the weekend,” McLaughlin said. Meanwhile, storm clouds slowly rolled into the area and could be seen looming over Reno.

“It’s sunny in Sparks, raining in reno and looking worse to the west,” the National Weather Service said in tweet. Forecasters said they predict mainly wind with rain and higher elevation snow showers for the remainder of Thursday, according to a post on the National Weather Service’s Facebook page. “Rain will transition to snow this evening, with a period of mixed rain and snow likely,” forecasters said in the Facebook post.  McGuire said the best bet for snowfall in Reno-Sparks will be between 8 p.m. Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday. “It probably won’t stick until the sun goes down,” he said. Areas above 5,000 feet might receive about 3 to 6 inches of snow.  Meanwhile, areas along the Sierra Crest could get about 12 to 18 inches of snow. He said the Reno area could receive 1 to 3 inches of snow by Friday morning. More snow showers are also expected Friday night into Saturday, but it could be a “hit or miss,” forecasters said. “This means that some places will see additional accumulations and others will not,” they said.