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The Latest: Storm, wind warnings upgraded in Sierra

January 17, 2018

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on the winter storm headed for the Sierra Nevada (all times local, PDT):

3:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a winter storm warning for the greater Lake Tahoe area beginning Thursday afternoon as the biggest storm so far this season makes its way toward the Sierra Nevada.

The service also has upgraded a high wind watch to a high wind warning for much of the Sierra’s eastern front, including Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Gardnerville and Virginia City.

The storm is expected to bring as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow to the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe with winds over the ridgetops potentially gusting in excess of 100 mph (161 kph) Thursday night and early Friday.

The storm warning is in effect from 4 p.m. Thursday to 4 p.m. Friday. The wind warning is in effect Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Sierra Avalanche Center in Truckee, California also issued a backcountry avalanche watch Wednesday for the Tahoe area because of the forecast of heavy snow combined with strong winds.

2:45 p.m.

The biggest storm so far this winter is headed for the Sierra Nevada, with up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow possible in the mountains by early Friday and winds potentially gusting in excess of 100 mph (161 kph) over the ridgetops.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch in effect form Thursday afternoon though Friday afternoon for the Lake Tahoe area stretching north of Reno to Susanville, California.

The strongest winds are expected Thursday afternoon and night, but snowfall in the valleys could snarl the Friday morning commute in Reno, Sparks and Carson City, where gusts of 60 to 80 mph (97 to 129 kph) are possible in wind-prone areas.

The service warns the winds could create whiteout conditions, damage trees, trigger power outages and delay flights.

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