Travel Delays Are Expected After Record Snow Tapers in Western U.S.
Though the worst of the week’s winter storms appears to be over, travel delays and extreme cold are expected to continue.,
Though the worst of the week’s winter storms appears to be over, travel delays and extreme cold are expected to continue.
The worst of a winter storm that brought record-setting snowfall and low temperatures to portions of the Western United States this week appears to be over, but travel delays, frigid temperatures and lighter snowfall are still expected in the coming days.
The National Weather Service in Reno, Nev., said early Thursday that accumulating snowfall had largely ended, with a few snow showers possible Thursday morning.
“The greater risk will, however, be from refreeze of moisture on roadways, leading to icy travel conditions across the Sierra and Western Nevada,” the Weather Service said, adding that, while major highways had reopened, drivers should “prepare for slow travel conditions across the region for the morning commute.”
The Weather Service predicted a chilly introduction to the new year in Nevada, with the “coldest air in nearly five years” expected to arrive this weekend. Forecasters expected temperatures to dip into the single digits for “much of western Nevada” and below zero in some areas of the Sierra Nevada.
But little to no more snow was expected, bringing relief to a region that had been battered since the weekend. The Weather Service called for cloudy skies in the Greater Lake Tahoe Area, with a slight chance of snow showers Thursday night and Friday morning and clear skies over the weekend.
It would be a relatively calm end to a historically snowy month. The Central Sierra Snow Lab of the University of California, Berkeley, has recorded 210 inches of snow in December, the area’s third-snowiest month in recorded history and its snowiest December.
The blizzards wreaked havoc on travel this week, forcing a dayslong closure of an 81-mile stretch of interstate in the Sierra Nevada, and making several major highways and state roads in Northern California impassable.
The sprawling winter storm system extended across the West Coast up to Washington, where Seattle broke a record on Monday for its lowest temperature on that particular date. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a low of 17 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday broke a 53-year-old record.
Nearly 300 inbound and outbound flights at the airport were canceled as of early Thursday, with dozens more delayed, according to FlightAware, continuing a week of cancellations and delays.
Snow in Western Washington on Thursday morning led to whiteout conditions and caused some road closures, but the snow was expected to ease later in the day, the Weather Service in Seattle said. Forecasters expected precipitation to ease by Friday, and highs to climb into the 40s by Saturday, ending a record-setting run of highs in the 30s.
In California, the authorities cautioned against nonessential travel in the mountains as road conditions remained perilous.