SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Happy Friday, Utah! Moisture is streaming into the Beehive State today and will continue over the next several days. These storms will be able to tap into subtropical moisture from the atmospheric river moving into the western U.S. to allow significant moisture to move into the intermountain west. 

In our mountains, heavy snowfall is expected over the next few days while the forecast is a bit trickier in our valleys thanks to a couple of warm fronts that will move through. This will result in a chance for snow, rain, and times of a wintry mix.

Due to expected heavy mountain snowfall, the National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Storm Watches for our Utah mountains. The Winter Storm Warning begins this morning and will continue through 5 a.m. on Monday. The warning includes the Central Mountains, the Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, the Western Uintas, and the Northern Mountains including all of the Wasatch. Within the warning, 1-3 feet of snow is expected, but in isolated areas like the Upper Cottonwoods, up to 4 feet of snow will be possible! 

The Wasatch Back is also included in a Winter Storm Warning that will begin this morning and also continue through 5 a.m. Monday. The Wasatch Back will likely receive 6-12″ of snow with places like Park City potentially getting close to or even over 2 feet of snow!

Within these warnings, travel will become either very difficult or impossible so keep that in mind for any New Year’s plan. Also, given the warmer nature of this storm, snow in the Ogden Valley may transition to rain this afternoon which could lead to slushy conditions and impact snow totals. A Winter Storm Warning has also been issued for Bear Lake, the Bear River Valley, and Southwest Wyoming. This will run a little longer, starting this morning and continuing through 5 a.m. on Monday. 6-12″ of snow is expected, with up to 18″ being possible in southern Uinta County on the southern slopes of the Uintas. 

The Winter Storm Warning for the Southern Mountains will begin Saturday afternoon and will continue through Sunday evening. During this time, 1-2 feet of snow is expected to fall with up to 3 feet being possible for the Pine Valleys and Brian Head. 

We also have a couple of Winter Weather Advisories that will remain in effect through 11 p.m. tonight. The first is for eastern Box Elder County and Cache Valley. During the time of the advisory, 2-4″ of snow will be possible, potentially up to 8″ — mainly for the benches.

While heavy snow is expected in our mountains and higher terrain, the snow line in our valleys will be moving around thanks to a few fronts. Snow showers remain possible into the afternoon along Northern Utah, including the Wasatch Front. However, as we go through the afternoon, the snow line will gradually climb through the day, likely reaching over 6000 ft. by the afternoon in northern Utah and over 7000 ft. in southern Utah.

The snow line will continue to remain elevated through Saturday as the warmer air stays in place and on Saturday could be at or even above 6500 ft. in northern Utah and around 7500 ft. in southern Utah. This means from the second half of today through Saturday mainly valley rain and mountain snow are expected. Daytime highs the next couple of days will run about 5-10 degrees above average with mainly 30s and 40s up north and 40s and 50s down south. 

As we move from Saturday into Sunday, a cold front will start to move in. This front will help bring widespread wet weather to Utah, but much colder air will move in behind it. While Sunday likely begins with mainly valley rain and mountain snow, the valley rain will likely change back to snow as the snow line drops down to the valley floors sometime on Sunday in northern Utah with it dropping to valley floors in southern Utah a little later.

How much snow we may see will depend on how much moisture lingers behind the front, but at this point, we could see some minor accumulations along the Wasatch Front with maybe a few inches or more being possible on the benches. While valley snow accumulations may not be too impressive, the water this system has the potential to be as several spots could see between 1-3″! 

Lingering showers will have the potential to linger into early Monday morning, especially in the mountains, but skies will gradually calm through the day. The calm skies are not likely to stick around though as most forecast models have more active weather ramping back up by the second half of next week. 

The takeaway? Very active conditions are hanging on through the weekend with heavy mountain snowfall totals into early next week.