Rain, storms with heavy mountain snows forecast for Las Vegas region

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Winter is arriving in the Las Vegas region.

Rain and thunderstorms are forecast for the Las Vegas Valley with a winter storm warning beginning at 4 a.m. Wednesday for high elevations in the Sheep Range, Red Rock Canyon and Mt. Charleston, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowfall in the mountains could total 20 to 25 inches, with the warning lasting through 4 p.m. Thursday.

‘Pretty significant’

“The first shot of snow in the mountains will be pretty significant,” said meteorologist Ashley Wolf. “It will all start tonight and go into Wednesday morning and will begin to taper off later Wednesday into Thursday.”

In the valley, Tuesday will begin with partly sunny skies with a chance of rain and slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs will range from 75 to 80 with winds 5 to 15 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.

Tonight, the chance of rain showers and thunderstorms continues with rain likely after midnight. The overnight lows will be 49 to 55 with southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Precipitation chances are forecast at 70 percent.

Wednesday will be cooler with highs of 56 to 62 with southeast winds up to 10 mph and a 90 percent chance of rain.

In addition, the projected snow and rain has prompted a flash flood watch from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and northeast Clark County.

Flooding possible

Widespread rainfall could flood secondary roads and other low areas, the weather service warns.

In higher elevations, rain and snow are likely beginning Tuesday evening with rain and snow likely after midnight. Snow accumulation is forecast at 1 to 3 inches. The heaviest snowfall will be above 7,500 feet.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” states the weather service warning. “Anyone hiking or engaging in other outdoor mountain recreation will be at risk of being trapped by the sudden change in weather.”

Snow down to 6,100 feet

On Wednesday the snow will continue with 4 to 8 inches expected. The snow level will drop to 6,900 feet. On Wednesday night, steady temperatures in the mid-30s are forecast with the snow level dropping to 6,100 feet.

After the two days of winter conditions, the Las Vegas Valley weekend forecast is for clear skies and mild winds with highs in the low 60s, a few degrees below normal.

NHP issues advisory

The Nevada Highway Patrol issued an advisory early Tuesday to remind motorists that during peak snowfall hours snow chains or 4×4/all-wheel-drive vehicles will likely be the only vehicles permitted on the mountain.

Vehicles that get stuck or are unprepared for winter weather become a hindrance during the snow removal process. Anyone planning a trip to Mt Charleston is encouraged to check the NHP twitter page @nhpsoutherncomm, gomtcharleston.com or the Nevada Department of Transportation website for the latest updates on road conditions and chain/AWD requirements.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0217. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter.