California highway officials advised that they will be closing three mountain passes near the Nevada line between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park on Thursday. This is because of an expected early winter storm that’s going to bring rain and snow to the Sierra.

Temperatures were plunging since Wednesday in Reno and Sierra’s eastern front, way ahead of schedule.

Highs were forecast to drop 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (6-8 Celsius) below normal Thursday through Saturday with weekend lows near and below freezing, the National Weather Service said.

“Confidence is increasing in the chances for rain and high elevation snow showers Thursday into Friday,” the service said. Several inches of snow are possible at the higher elevations.

Highways could reopen on Saturday after Caltrans crews evaluate conditions.

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