- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - A late winter storm dumped up to a foot of heavy snow on parts of western Nevada on Monday, and a winter storm warning was issued into Wednesday for much of northeast Nevada, where as much as 3 feet of blowing snow could fall in the mountains.

“Heavy snow and blowing snow will lead to snow packed roads and low visibilities making travel difficult or impossible,” the National Weather Service said in a statement Monday. The warning covers about a 300-mile stretch of U.S. Interstate 80 from Battle Mountain east to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Snow fell at a rate of about one inch per hour early Monday in the Reno-Sparks area, triggering dozens of fender benders and snarling slippery roads during a busy morning commute the day after Easter.

“This is the most snow we’ve gotten all year,” David Evans of Sparks said as he shoveled nearly a foot of the stuff out of his driveway Monday morning. “It’s crazy.”

The heavy, wet snow snapped limbs as thick as 8 inches in diameter off countless cherry blossom and other flowering trees that had been in full bloom across town.

“We had 60-degree weather yesterday and this today,” weather service meteorologist Shane Snyder told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Monday. “That happens in Reno.”

Chains or snow tires were required on most mountain highways in the Sierra much of the day. Truckee Meadows Community College cancelled classes, but the University of Nevada, Reno remained open. Washoe County public schools are on spring break.

Snowfall ranged from 12 inches north of Spanish Springs and 11 inches in northeast Sparks, to about 8 inches in Reno and 7 inches in Fernley, the weather service said. Less snow was reported at Lake Tahoe, with about 3 inches at lake level in Incline Village. Parts of Carson City also got about 3 inches.

The edge of the storm whipped up dust in southern Nevada, where the weather service issued a high-wind warning effective until Tuesday morning. Clark County officials advised managers of construction sites to take steps to keep down blowing dust around Las Vegas.

The winter storm warning in effect until 5 a.m. Wednesday includes Battle Mountain, Elko, Carlin and Wells, along with parts of Lander, Eureka and Elko counties stretching to the Utah line and beyond. Between a half-foot and 12 inches of snow and blowing snow was forecast in the valleys, with anywhere from a foot to 3 feet of snow in the upper elevations, including the Ruby Mountains in Elko County.

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