A little snow, a lot of cold in pre-winter forecast

RENO, Nev. - The coldest temperatures of the season are expected to grip northern Nevada next week, carried by a storm that should beat the arrival of winter by days and bring more snow to the Sierra.

''We're hoping so. We really would like to see the snowpack built up to normal levels,'' National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Goldstein said Friday.

He said a system that's currently chilling out in the Gulf of Alaska is likely to arrive the first part of next week, followed by another one about Wednesday - eight days before winter officially arrives.

''It will be noticeably cooler,'' Goldstein said. ''By the early part of next week we'll have highs in the 30s and lows in the teens. After a second system Tuesday, we could see some local single digits Wednesday night, lower in some areas.''

That would be 15-20 degrees below normal statewide, but still a slight improvement over what had been predicted earlier.

The system, which had been expected to stay over land, will warm up 5-10 degrees as it passes above the Pacific Ocean. Moisture drawn up from the ocean also will increase the chance of snow.

''We're posting a winter storm watch late tomorrow and tomorrow night for possibly 3 to 6 inches at the lake and up to a foot above 7,000 feet,'' Goldstein said Friday.

''We're possibly looking at another system Monday into Tuesday with a chance of some snow in the mountains and in the valleys as well. The main push is going to be farther east,'' he said.

That would put more of the snow in the Elko and Ely areas or beyond, where temperatures in the zero-and-below range also are expected.

The readings are at least 15 degrees away from record lows for this time of year. And they are not expected to produce the concerns in Nevada over possible power shortages that are occurring in California.

''We're not tied to their system. We have long-term purchased power contracts in place and we have reserves available as well,'' said Karl Wahlquist, a spokesman for Sierra Pacific Resources.

Sierra Pacific Power Co., which serves northern Nevada, generates about 80 percent of its electricity and buys the rest.


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