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 Mount 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. The heaviest snowfall will be above 7,500 feet. The snow level will drop to 6,100 feet by Wednesday night.
“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.”
“The first shot of snow in the mountains will be pretty significant,” weather service meteorologist Ashley Wolf said. “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 slight chance of rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon. The high should reach 77, and winds will be 5 to 15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
Tuesday night, a 70 percent chance of rain showers and thunderstorms is likely after midnight. The overnight lows will be around 53, and southeast winds will be 5 to 15 mph.
Wednesday will be cooler with a high of 59, a 90 percent chance of rain and southeast winds up to 10 mph.
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.
Widespread rainfall could flood secondary roads and other low areas, the weather service warns.
NHP issues advisory
The Nevada Highway Patrol issued an advisory early Tuesday to remind motorists that during peak snowfall hours that 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 Mount 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.