LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- There is an unseasonably cold winter storm diving into Southern Nevada as we enter the busiest travel week of the year.
The storm will have major impacts on the roads heading in and out of Las Vegas.
Southern Nevada will see widespread rain and very low snow levels for this time of year. Yes, even the Las Vegas Valley has the potential for snowfall this week.
Here’s the breakdown:
Monday and Tuesday
If you’re planning on driving to California, Arizona, Utah or Northern Nevada, the best time to hit the road will be Monday or Tuesday. Roads will be dry; the biggest issue will be gusty winds Monday afternoon and evening.
Wind gusts in the 35-55 mph range will be blowing across Southern Nevada. A Wind Advisory is in effect for Las Vegas through 7 p.m.
Windy conditions also caused a few trees to topple over. Crews worked into the evening to clear tree limbs from a front yard in downtown Las Vegas off Charleston and Las Vegas boulevards.
In the east portion of the valley, a tree fell in the Harmon Hills apartment complex, barely missing several units.
“I heard some crunching. It turned out to be the tree that fell,” said resident Tyler Henderson, who was inside his home. The tree uprooted the sprinkler system and damaged the concrete walkway.
Clouds will be increasing on Tuesday, but we’re looking to hold off the rain and snow.
The earlier the better for those planning on driving out of town on Wednesday.
The storm will move in during the day with widespread rain and snow falling above 4,000 feet. As a result, travel between Las Vegas and Pahrump will be impacted with heavy snow falling over Mountain Springs along Highway 160.
If you’re driving into California, snow will begin to accumulate over Mountain Pass south of Primm. This could cause major delays.
If you’re heading north into Lincoln or Nye Counties, heavy snow will be accumulating, making for tough travel conditions north of Las Vegas.
Around the Las Vegas Valley, the storm will be mainly produce rain on Wednesday. Las Vegas may see some snowflakes mix in later in the afternoon and evening around the far west valley for Summerlin.
AAA reports more people are traveling by airplane this year than ever before.
“With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 4.45 million Americans expected to fly,” AAA said.
More than 55 million people are traveling to their thanksgiving dinner.
McCarran International Airport Spokesperson Joe Rachel said they are ready for those stopping in Las Vegas.
“With the nature of the conventions and the other things that we host here, we're ready for the volume of people inside the airport,” said Rachel.
Weather in cities like Chicago and Denver is forcing travelers to adjust their plans. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at Denver International Airport.
"Cold snowy and rainy." Weather in Fargo, North Dakota delayed Rich and Mary Haugen’s flight to Las Vegas. They flew in for an Aerosmith concert.
“We’re kind of use to traveling with possible weather impacts,” said Mary.
Rain and snow are expected to continue throughout the day on Thanksgiving. With temperatures in the 30s and 40s for much of the day in Las Vegas, any showers we see may have some snow mixed in.
As far as accumulation, the far west Las Vegas Valley will be the prime spot to see accumulating snow.
Friday and Saturday
The precipitation does not look as widespread Friday and Saturday, but the air will be cold enough to still support snowfall down to the valley floor. Scattered showers will still be in the area, so the possibility of snow flurries will remain in the forecast through Saturday.
Total Snow Accumulation
While confidence has increased for snow flurries around the Las Vegas Valley, there is still uncertainty with snowfall totals. The higher elevations around 3,000 feet in Summerlin have the potential for 1 to 3 inches.
For the rest of the Las Vegas Valley that sees snowfall, accumulations could range anywhere between a trace and an inch.
Outside Las Vegas, Pahrump has the potential for a trace to 2 inches.
Indian Springs could pick up 2 to 4 inches. Some of the heaviest snowfall will be focused north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County where areas like Caliente and Pioche are looking at more than a foot of new snow.
Confidence is high that the mountains will see very heavy snow during this event. 1 to 3 feet of snow is expected around Mt. Charleston and Lee Canyon.