The last half of February is shaping up to be very different than the first half, not only temperature wise but with the amount storminess too. Recently we’ve had systems ride along the ridge and slide on down from Oregon into Nevada. These slider type storms can be very hard to predict, because if they wiggle to the left or right ever so slightly it can impact snow totals significantly. They also tend to lack moisture because they move inland opposed to grabbing moisture from the ocean. 

Before the snow arrives, it will be windy in the area with gusts in the 30’s Saturday night, and gusting near 50 during the day Sunday. With strong winds, blowing dust is also possible. The wind will also make it feel even colder, this is called wind chill.

Highs Sunday will be met in the late morning before front number one moves through. In Reno, temperatures will start out around 40 degrees Sunday morning, and be in the mid 40’s at noon, and around freezing come 5pm. 

While a few light rain showers are possible Sunday morning, the majority of the precipitation will fall in the early afternoon, and then again overnight. The Reno Airport is the lowest spot in the valley at around 4400’, and as a result there could be a mix there in the evening, but eventually reaching freezing there too by at least 10pm. 

Snow totals will be light and similar to what we saw last time around. The valley could see anything from a dusting to two inches by Monday morning. The Sierra on the other hand could pick up between four to eight inches by the end of everything.  The models do not handle these things very well, and as a result there is a good spread in totals amongst them. The GFS for example shows about an inch in the early afternoon with another half inch overnight and throughout the day Monday. The NAM, however, keeps snow totals even lighter, at around a dusting. In my opinion the GFs is a touch to aggressive and the NAM is too conservative. My job as a meteorologist is to pick which one is the best and modify their data. Monday afternoon will be drier, but I can’t rule out a few pop up snow showers too. Air has the easiest time rising in front of lows or fronts, but when a low is overhead it can create some unsettled air too. 

In the wake of the snow, cold air will stick around for a few days. Lows Tuesday morning will be in the teens and highs will be in the mid 30’s. That’s despite sunshine too! Wednesday will be just as cold with mostly sunny skies.  Have a great day.