SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It has obviously been a season for the record books when it comes to the water year in Utah. Beginning in October, the water year keeps track of the moisture in our state, and after a dismal few years we are finally singing in the rain – and snow.
In fact, it is almost certain that we will break the record for the highest Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) for Utah since 1980. In simplest terms, SWE is what you get if you were to melt all the snow. In 1983 the SWE reached 26.0 inches and many of us remember what happened that year (State Street flooding ring a bell?). As of Friday morning, we are sitting at 26.0 inches and storms are coming. Thank goodness that we have better drainage systems in place, but we’ve already seen people preparing by filling sandbags.
This is because we have another good-sized storm spending some time in Utah. Already we’ve felt its presence as it crept in overnight and made things difficult for our morning commute. But don’t expect it to just move on quickly.
The National Weather Service has issued several Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings for northern and central Utah with most of them remaining in place until noon on Saturday. During this time we can look forward to 1-5 inches for our valleys, benches and Cache Valley could see between 3-8 inches. Mountain valleys including the Wasatch Back could end up with 4-12 inches, most mountains in northern and central Utah will see between 6-18 inches, and the cottonwoods could see 10-24 inches.
In most of these cases, locally higher and lower amounts will be possible. Southern mountains could see a few inches to possibly half a foot while Cedar City and Beaver could pick up an inch or two depending on the moisture.
We will also have strong winds with gusts near 50 mph in the mountains. This means the likelihood of drifting and blowing snow. If you are planning on traveling in the mountains today or tomorrow, please be careful and understand that you’ll be in winter driving conditions even if the calendar says it’s spring.
The storm will also bring in cooler temperatures and we’ll see a drop of about 20 degrees from the norms this time of year. The Wasatch Front will be held under 40 for much of the next few days and even St. George will be pushing to get above 50. Temperatures will begin to rise back up as the new week starts, but we’ll also be facing our next storm system making its way to us by midweek.
There is a lot of active weather in store for Utah and records are likely to fall. Keep track of all of it right here with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast both on-air and online. We are Good4Utah!