Winter was off with a bang when a big weather system blasted through the West Coast two weeks ago, dropping up to nine feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada. Mineral County also got quite a bit of precipitation, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) reporting six inches of snow that fell in Mina on December 14th with a little bit more coming in on the 15th. Hawthorne received one inch of snow within the same storm period but got three inches of snow the week before between December 8-9.

With more weather on the horizon going into Christmas, NOAA forecasters have issued a Special Weather Statement pertinent to Mineral County. Even though weather systems tend to peter out by the time they reach Hawthorne, weather analysts believe that a series of storms will come into the area late Thursday night and last through Sunday, possibly disrupting travel in the Sierra, Western Nevada, and Northeast California.

In Western Nevada, a lot of rain is expected to fall Thursday, but it’s not expected to snow on valley floors until Friday night (the Statement does suggest that snow will fall in the foothills above 5500 feet). Then a colder system will move in, hopefully turning that rain into snow by Christmas evening.

If traveling over the holidays, consider adjusting your plans or taking alternate routes if you are going in or out of the Sierra, keeping in mind that chain controls, potential road closures, and long delays may occur. Feel free to get current road conditions by calling 511 for Nevada roads and 1-800-427-7623 to find out the status on California routes.

Sleet and rain are in the forecast, but the Special Weather Statement also says that there’s expected to be lighter snowfall coming to the Sierra on Christmas Eve with it getting heavier on Christmas Day. However, NOAA Meteorologist Mark Deutschendorf believes that in Mineral County there’s supposed to be a small period of snow Christmas evening. “Just a little white on the ground… “I don’t think that Santa will have to put the blades down on his sled to deliver presents on Christmas Eve in the Hawthorne community,” he smiles.

No matter what happens, commuters should expect a slower pace on the snow/sleet covered roads and plan to encounter chain controls especially if going into higher elevations.