Between the Nevada Highway Patrol and Carson Sheriff’s deputies, Tuesday’s storm brought more than 200 accidents on icy roadways.
NHP spokesman Dave Gibson said there were 118 reported non-injury accidents and 56 where some one was hurt.
That comes to 174 accidents troopers had to deal with and doesn’t include the accidents handled by deputies during the day. In Carson City, there were 35 accidents, mostly fender-benders.
Gibson said many of the accidents were caused by motorists driving too fast for the icy conditions or following other vehicles too closely. He said especially in slippery road conditions, give the vehicle ahead of your car plenty of room so that you can stop safely if something happens.
Four of the accidents involved NHP vehicles but Gibson said the troopers were not at fault. One longtime ex-trooper said patrol vehicles are most often hit from behind while they are stopped either writing a ticket or assisting another motorist.
In addition to the reported accidents, Gibson said troopers reported 112 motorist assists and 41 cars that simply slid off the road.
Gibson said NHP urges motorists to exercise caution especially in bad weather. He said that means use your seatbelt, turn headlights on and make sure all windows are free of ice and snow. He said motorists should also give themselves more time to get to their destination in bad weather.
Motorists may not have long before the next storm hits. Record or near-record lows were forecast today across much of Northern Nevada, with sub-freezing temperatures anticipated as far south as Las Vegas, the National Weather Service said. Today’s low was forecasted to be minus-7 in Carson City. The cold front is ahead of a storm that is expected to hit Friday evening, with as much as a foot of snow possible in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada.
Five-below zero, the forecasted low for today in Reno, would be the coldest temperature recorded at Reno-Tahoe International Airport since December 2008, the National Weather Service said.
“Outlying valleys will be 10 to 20 below,” weather service meteorologist Dawn Johnson told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We will have a very high potential for black ice.”
Other lows forecast for today ranged from minus-11 at Truckee, Calif., and minus-6 at South Lake Tahoe.
In the mountains, overnight lows could drop to close to 20 degrees below zero by early Sunday, the weather service said.
Weather service meteorologist Alex Hoon said it’s not clear how much of the next round of snow will make it to the valley floors.
“This one does have some uncertainty with it, but it looks like there’s a very good chance of getting snow up in the Sierra, maybe even up to a foot in the highest elevations and on all the passes,” Hoon said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report