The wind speeds forecast would be Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, possibly Cat 5.
The National Weather Service in Reno issued their forecast discussion today for California’s Sierra Nevada, and the forecast of 150 mile per hour plus winds is confirmed, along with 4-8 feet of snow at high elevations:
FXUS65 KREV 092315
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Reno NV
315 PM PST Mon Jan 9 2017
The weather will remain unsettled through at least Wednesday. These
storms are colder with lower snow levels lessening the flood
threat. However, downstream areas will continue to be susceptible
to flooding through Tuesday afternoon. Aside from the flooding,
heavy Sierra snowfall with periods of rain and snow will continue
into Western Nevada. High winds are also possible Tuesday. Drier
weather is expected late week into the weekend.
Attention shifts to incoming winter storms over the next couple
days with the biggest impact being heavy snow and blowing snow in
the Sierra. Flooding concern is diminishing today, although there
are still some impacts and concerns for downstream locations
through Tuesday, including east of Sparks on the Truckee River,
the Carson River, and the Middle Fork Feather River near Portola.
A Flood Advisory remains in effect for much of northeastern CA and
western NV as flood waters have been slow to drain from lowland
areas around the Truckee Meadows, Sierra Valley, Carson Valley,
and portions of Lassen County. A few locations still remain
covered by flood waters, including Highway 395 near Johnson Lane
where the Carson River is coming out of it`s banks.
Precipitation is increasing in the Sierra ahead of our next
winter storm that is moving in tonight through Wednesday. Some
convection is developing on the western slopes of the Sierra this
afternoon and will carry over into the eastern Sierra/Tahoe Basin
and even into the lower valley of northeastern CA and western NV
We have issued a winter weather advisory for Surprise Valley and
Northern Washoe Counties as high resolution models are showing a
strong potential for several inches of snow tonight for areas north
of Pyramid Lake. Earlier this morning, the high-res models were
showing the potential for a quick 1-2 inches of snow around the
Reno-Carson City-Minden, but have since backed off on this
potential. We still have the mention in the forecast for light snow
around Reno- Carson, but forecaster confidence is rather low. Snow
levels will then rise Tuesday afternoon, possibly rising as high
as 6000-7000 feet north to south before crashing back to the
valley floors by Wednesday morning.
The atmosphere becomes more stable Tuesday morning, with increasing
winds across the region. 700mb flow increases to around 60-70kts,
with very strong winds likely along the Sierra Front Tuesday
afternoon and evening. High winds with gusts up to 65 mph are
likely Tuesday for the Sierra Front areas from Mono County north
to the Oregon border. Wind prone areas, especially those along
US-395 will see gusts up to 80 mph at times. For the Sierra
ridges, we could see winds exceeding 150 mph at times Tuesday. We
have upgraded to a High Wind Warning for the Sierra Front areas.
We may need to issue a wind advisory for Pershing and Churchill
Counties as well, but for now we have their winds just below
By Tuesday evening, the front pushes into the region, with heavier
snow in the Sierra and precipitation spilling over into the
valleys of northeast CA and western NV. By Wednesday, we could see
up to 4 to 8 feet of snow in the high Sierra above 7000 feet, with
2 to 5 feet around the Lake Tahoe Basin and around Mammoth Lakes.
Blizzard conditions will occur over the passes and ridges Tuesday
and Tuesday night. Blizzard conditions may also be widespread in
the lower elevations for the Tahoe Basin and 395 corridor in Mono
County Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Snow levels will be coming back down to around 4500-5000 feet
Wednesday morning, with a slight potential for accumulating snow
on the valley floors by early Wednesday morning, although this may
end up mixed with rain. Snow will taper off on Wednesday
afternoon, with light snow continuing in the Sierra through
Thursday morning. There is some uncertainty in another shortwave
for Thursday that may bring additional snowfall to the Sierra.