Published Monday, Dec. 7, 2009 | 6:51 a.m.
Updated Monday, Dec. 7, 2009 | 7:19 p.m.
Be careful driving on slick streets tonight — a winter storm is bringing heavy snow to Mount Charleston and the Spring Mountains and steady rain to the Las Vegas Valley.
By 5:56 p.m., about .18 of an inch of rain had fallen at McCarran International Airport, with rain expected through the valley into the evening. A Sun photographer who was out near Red Rock around 6:30 p.m. said there were snow accumlations there. A weather observer for the National Weather Service reported 8 inches of new snow had fallen by 3 p.m. at Mount Charleston.
Authorities responded to several reports of crashes Monday but none were serious through early Monday evening, authorities said.
The Nevada Highway Patrol was working 14 crashes in Clark County this evening.
Metro Police spokesman Bill Cassell said his department also was receiving several reports of crashes in the Las Vegas area.
"Routinely, when we have inclement weather like this, when there's moisture on the roadways, our accident volume goes up quite heavily," he said.
The weather service said most of the rain would fall before 10 p.m., with some some areas elevations between 2,500 and 3,500 feet to see some snow and rain mix.
The chance for precipitation tonight in the valley is 70 percent, with southwest winds at 10 to 18 mph, gusting as high as 26 mph, forecasters said.
While the Las Vegas Valley will get rain, snow is expected in the mountains above 4,000 feet, where 6 to 12 inches is expected, the weather service said.
The mountains above 7,000 feet may see 1 to 2 feet of snow, forecasters said.
The weather service has issued a winter storm warning through 4 a.m. for the Mount Charleston area, where from 6 inches to a foot of snow are expected, affecting Highway 160 over Mountain Springs summit between Las Vegas and Pahrump and Mountain Pass along Interstate 15 between Primm and Baker. The weather serve said that by 4 p.m., several inches of snow has been reported on Hualapai Mountain.
Earlier today, the Nevada Department of Transportation said that vehicles on state routes 156 and 157 would need to be equipped with chains or four-wheel drive.
The weather service said the storm could produce hazardous driving in the lower desert areas because of slick roads.
Although rainfall amounts from a half inch to an inch will be common, significant flooding isn't expected, forecasters said. However, local runoff problems might lead to minor street flooding or ponding in low-lying areas, forecasters said.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be dry before a weaker Pacific storm moves inland Thursday, bringing lighter amounts of rain and snow to the region, forecasters said.
A third Pacific storm with the potential for widespread precipitation is expected to move into the region Saturday and Sunday, the weather service said.
Just before 2 p.m., the temperature had fallen from a high of 50 degrees to 46 degrees at McCarran and the wind was from the southwest at 16 mph, gusting to 22 mph. The normal high temperature for today's date is 59 degrees and the record high is 76, set in 1938.
Tonight's temperatures will be 45 degrees at 9 p.m. and 43 degrees at midnight in the valley, the weather service said.
Tuesday's morning low will be 40 degrees and Tuesday's high will be 48 degrees, with mostly sunny skies.