New Year's Eve snowstorm may spare Las Vegas, but I-15 could be messy

New Year's Eve snowstorm may spare Las Vegas, but I-15 could be messy
Revelers crowd the Las Vegas Strip just after midnight on New Year's 2014. A snowstorm forecast for Las Vegas this year now appears unlikely, but it will be cold. (Glenn Pinkerton / Las Vegas News Bureau)

A snowstorm in Las Vegas for New Year's Eve now seems doubtful, but the drive to Sin City could be treacherous.

The National Weather Service canceled the winter storm watch for the Las Vegas Valley, but a winter storm warning has been issued for parts of Interstate 15, a key road for travelers from Southern California.

The warning, in effect from 4 p.m. Tuesday through 4 p.m. Wednesday, is for the high desert south of Barstow.

Updates on road conditions in California are available online or by calling (800) 427-7623. Nevada road conditions are also updated online and at (877) 687-6237.


Las Vegas may get only a dusting of snow, but partiers should plan to dress warmly. Temperatures around 30 with winds of up to 25 mph will result in wind-chill factors in the teens.

In California, one to four inches of snow is forecast for cities such as Hesperia and Victorville, and five to eight inches could fall in the higher mountains, including the Cajon Pass.

The weather service said visibility Tuesday evening could be reduced by blowing snow. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are predicted for the mountains.

"It could make your travel to Las Vegas a little bit slower," said Officer Matt Hunt of the California Highway Patrol in Victorville.

He said Southland residents are often surprised at how much snow falls each winter at higher elevations, but added that CalTrans generally can keep traffic moving.

"If the snow begins to impact the freeway where it's dangerous and too many traffic collisions occur, it does get shut down," Hunt said. "That's only to allow CalTrans and the cinder trucks to make the roadways passable."

Hunt said all available officers would be on duty New Year's Eve through Monday to combat drunk driving and to assist if driving becomes difficult.

Hunt urged travelers to make sure their vehicles were in good working order before beginning their journeys.

"The last thing you want to do is become disabled in inclement weather because we, as law enforcement, may be involved with other things such as traffic collisions," he said. "It may take us a little longer to get out to you."

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel