Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 | 10:37 a.m.
Get ready for an early taste of winter — a quick shot of rain and wind moves into the Las Vegas Valley later today, followed by the coldest weather of the season Wednesday and Thursday.
“Probably most of the rain, if we do get anything, will be late this afternoon to early evening,” said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.
Most areas in the valley will get less than 1/10th of an inch from the low pressure system moving through, Stachelski said.
“It definitely doesn’t look like it’s going to be as much as last week,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some spots got only a trace.”
Winds will be gusting 25 to 35 mph from the north-northwest, possibly higher over the western part of the valley, he said.
Meanwhile, area mountains will get 2 to 4 inches of snow today, he said.
“It will probably be a little longer-lasting up there, more likely late this morning into this afternoon,” Stachelski said. “It will be winding down by this evening.”
Snow will start falling at elevations above 6,000 feet but will drop to about 3,500 feet by the time it ends tonight, he said.
Tonight’s temperatures in the valley will drop into the mid 30s, with the overnight low expected to fall to 38 degrees at McCarran International Airport, he said.
“Wednesday and Thursday will probably be the two coldest days of the season so far,” Stachelski said. “We’re going to have highs only in the 40s and lows possibly dropping down to freezing even at McCarran.”
According to weather service records, the last time the temperature at McCarran dropped to 32 degrees or lower was Dec. 7, 2011. The 376-day stretch of freeze-free days is the longest on record dating back to 1937. Another record could be in jeopardy this week — the record for the latest first freeze of the season at McCarran. The current record is Dec. 19, set in 1995 and 2002.
On Friday, the first day of winter, temperatures will warm up a bit, with cloudy skies and highs climbing to the low 50s.
More normal conditions — highs in the mid to upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s — then return by the weekend, Stachelski said.