Storm Pummeling West with Hurricane-Force Wind

April 27, 2010; 3:33 PM ET
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A storm that has been pummeling parts of California, Oregon and Nevada with heavy rain and high wins over 100 mph since Monday will continue impacting the West over the next couple of days.

Hurricane-Force Wind

Wind will remain dangerously strong through tonight across Nevada, southeastern Oregon, Utah and the mountains and upper deserts of California. Gusts will exceed 60 mph in many places.

Near the Mount Rose Ski Area in Nevada, a gust of 120 mph was measured early Tuesday morning! Wind of this magnitude is characteristic of a Category 3 hurricane.

The high wind has already blown over trailers and caused minor property damage across parts of Nevada. Dangerous crosswinds will remain a hazard to travelers, especially those operating high-profile vehicles or pulling trailers.

The wind will also remain capable of taking down trees and power lines and causing property damage. Isolated power outages could result in some communities. Airport delays could also be a problem.

Throughout the day Wednesday, the strongest wind will shift farther south and east, targeting areas from southeastern California into Arizona, Utah, western Colorado and New Mexico. In Arizona and southeastern California, the wind could kick up dust and significantly reduce visibility.

The Rain

The heaviest rain with the storm has been targeting northern California and southern Oregon.

Rainfall totals from Monday into Tuesday morning reached 1 to 2 inches or more in this region with new daily rainfall records being set in places like North Bend and Roseburg, Ore. Monday.

The rain will lighten up in northern California and southern Oregon tonight, while lighter showers linger across much of the rest of the West through Wednesday. While showers are not expected to be particularly heavy, they could still slow travel at times along the Interstate 5 corridor.

Low clouds along the California coast could lead to airport delays in places like San Francisco through Wednesday as well.

Mountain Snow

Snow will be another issue as the storm spreads colder air across the West. Snow will develop in the mountains of the West tonight into Wednesday, with half a foot or more accumulating at some of the higher elevations.

Snow levels will plummet to 2,500 feet in the Cascades and mountains of northern California tonight. In the Sierra and northern Rockies, levels will dip between 2,500 and 4,500 feet by Wednesday morning.

People driving through the mountains tonight into Wednesday should be prepared for slow, slippery travel at times. Portions of Interstate 80 will be affected.

For the mountains of Southern California, freezing levels will remain too high for snow until Wednesday night.

Related to the Story:

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