Storm Update 9:05 a.m.: Snow and wind buffet Sierra, Lake Tahoe |

Storm Update 9:05 a.m.: Snow and wind buffet Sierra, Lake Tahoe

Heavy wind and snow has picked up in the past two hours now making travel in the Sierra Nevada dicey at best, with chain or snow tires required on all vehicles at mountain passes.

Authorities said it would only get worse later in the day as the brunt of a potent winter storm moves into the region packing a powerful punch.

A rare blizzard warning for the mountains and Lake Tahoe region remained in effect until Saturday morning. Forecasters said several feet of snow was expected, along with winds gusting to 150 mph reducing visibility to zero.

“It’s been several years since we’ve seen a storm this impressive,” said Chris Jordan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

Before daylight this morning, emergency managers warned it was likely that Interstate 80 over Donner Summit would be closed later in the day.

At South Lake Tahoe, city official were monitoring the situation, and, as of yet, have not opened up its emergency shelters at the city’s parks and rec center. City officials are working across the state line with Douglas County officials to ensure all emergency operations are in place, City Manager David Jinkens wrote in an email this morning.

West of Reno in Truckee city officials said the American Red Cross would open a storm shelter at Sierra Mountain Middle School to assist stranded motorists or others in need of a safe haven from the elements.

The storm arrived Friday in the Reno area in the form of rain with blustery winds, but forecasters said the precipitation would turn to snow by afternoon or early evening as a cold air mass from the Gulf of Alaska collides with subtropical moisture coming in from the Pacific.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for western and northern Nevada, where forecasters said 8-10 inches of snow was expected overnight in the Reno-Carson City area.

Foothill regions could see more than a foot. Residents across the region stocked up Thursday on food and emergency provisions.

” Associated Press Writer Sandra Chereb contributed to this story.

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