SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Tuesday, Utah or happy Pie Day since it’s 3.14! Today will bring strong winds and increasing wet weather potential as an atmospheric river event moves in! 

Our next warm and wet storm system is upon us and after hitting the upper 50s in Salt Lake City yesterday, it’s not out of the question to say daytime highs in the 40s, 50s and even 60s along the Wasatch Front. If we do hit 60 in Salt Lake, it will be the first time since November 7th of last year! 

Down south highs will mainly be in the 40s and 50s as St. George climbs into the mid 60s. The reason for the warmer temperatures is due to a strong southerly flow of wind ahead of our storm system. While it’s going to be breezy across the state, the strongest winds outside of the high terrain will be along and west of I-15 where we have a Wind Advisory in place until noon on Wednesday. Areas under the advisory will see sustained winds between 25-35 mph and gusts could top 45-55 mph. East-to-west driving routes, including I-80, will see strong southerly cross winds and high-profile vehicles face travel impacts. 

Wet weather is the next layer of this storm and there’s plenty of moisture potential. Expect increasing cloud cover throughout the day as this storm taps into the atmospheric river which is subtropical moisture coming in off the Pacific. This will result in widespread wet weather across Utah likely from the second half of Tuesday through Wednesday.

As the warm front lifts through the north our snow levels climb significantly. You can expect the snow level in the north to hit between 7000 and 7500 feet, the central mountains rising to 8000 feet, and levels to hit at or above 9000 feet in southern Utah. This means that in northern Utah, there are potential places like Park City that could see straight rain. For areas that have seen a lot of snow below the snow levels, if we do see times of heavy rain, the rain and temperatures above freezing could lead to localized flooding concerns as the snow melts rapidly. 

The snow levels will gradually begin to drop Tuesday night through Wednesday as colder air works its way back behind a cold front and by Wednesday night the snow level in northern Utah could drop back down to the benches, between 5500 – 6000 feet. Overall, we will see valley rain and mountain snow, but IF the moisture lingers behind the front there is a chance that some benches and typically colder valleys like Cache Valley, could see some mixed precipitation, or some sloppy wet snow. 

The likelihood of heavy mountain snow has prompted several winter alerts for mountains throughout the state. A Winter Storm Warning is set for the southern Utah mountains including Brian Head and Alton. The warning begins at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and is set to remain in place until 6 a.m. Thursday. 1-2 feet of snow accumulations are expected mainly above 8000 feet. Below that accumulations will be significantly lower. Winter travel conditions will be made trickier with strong winds. The southeastern mountains in the La Sal and Abajo Mountains (including the city of Monticello) will be included in a Winter Storm Warning that will run from midnight tonight through midnight tomorrow night. 8-16″ of snow will be possible above 8,000 feet. and gusts over 50 mph will also be possible. 

The Winter Storm Warning for the Wasatch Mountains and Western Uintas starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. 1-2 feet of snow will be possible with over 2 feet being in the realm of possibility for the upper Cottonwoods. Like the warning for the southern mountains, strong winds are expected. Snow totals will be slightly less for the central Utah mountains. As a result, a Winter Weather Advisory from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Thursday has been issued for the area. In general, above 7,500 feet, 6-12″ of snow is expected including the Wasatch Plateau, Book Cliffs, and cities like Scofield. The eastern Uintas are also included in an advisory that will run from 6 p.m. this evening through 6 p.m. Wednesday. Above 8,000 feet, 6-12″ will be possible. 

While our mountains will see the healthiest snow totals, you can’t rule out the chance of mountain valleys picking up some snow.  Mountain valleys are likely to see 1-6″ with possibly up to 8″ around Park City, but in both cases, times of straight rain will be possible given the higher snow levels. On the benches and typically colder valleys like Cache in northern Utah a trace-3″ looks possible, if the moisture holds on long enough. For our valleys rain is most likely, however, if the moisture lingers as the colder air moves in, minor accumulations can’t be ruled out between late Wednesday and early Thursday. 

By Thursday afternoon, skies look to be dry across the board. We’ll close out the workweek with daytime highs about 5-10 degrees below average. We will get sunshine for our St. Patrick’s Day though! Temperatures won’t move much this weekend, but we could see some more active weather with some hit or miss wet weather potential before even more active weather next week!