SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Thursday or happy Friday eve, Utah! After a couple of active days, today will be just a bit calmer, but that won’t last too long. Even though today comparatively will be calmer, there will still be at least a slight chance for wet weather thanks to a weak shortwave moving through.

The best chance will be in the southern two-thirds of the state with isolated low-elevation rain showers and higher-elevation snow. While it’s unlikely we see showers in northern Utah a few stray showers can’t be ruled out late in the afternoon and evening.

For most, today will bring partly cloudy to partly sunny skies with daytime highs near seasonal averages. In northern Utah, we’ll mainly top out in the 30s with higher terrain areas like Park City topping out in the 20s. Meanwhile down south highs will be in the 30s and 40s for most. 

As we move into tonight the active weather will be ramping back up as a potent upper-level trough moves in from the Pacific. This system will tap into more moisture streaming in from the Pacific and this will lead to widespread wet weather across Utah from Friday through New Year’s Day!

In the mountains, heavy snow is expected from late Thursday through Sunday night. Due to this, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from the Central Mountains to the Northern Mountains including the western Uintas and the Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs. Within the watch, 1-3 feet of additional snowfall is expected with a chance for higher amounts in spots like the cottonwood canyons! This watch also includes the Wasatch Back where 4-10″ of snow is expected within this same timeframe and in Park City, we could see over a foot of snow!

In our lower elevations, the forecast is a little trickier. This is due to a southerly flow of wind that will transport warmer temperatures into the state Friday into Saturday before colder air returns by Sunday. In southern Utah, we’ll mainly be looking at valley rain and mountain snow both Friday and Saturday with the snow line dropping to around 6000ft by Sunday afternoon which means Cedar City could start to see snow. In St. George, this will be a rain event with the best chance for rain coming on Sunday.

In northern Utah including the Wasatch Front, we’ll see wet weather likely start out as snow on Friday morning which could result in a messy morning commute. With the warmer air moving in the snow line will gradually climb from the morning into the afternoon with it reaching to around 6500 by the heart of the afternoon.

The snow line likely stays above most low benches through Friday night before climbing back to around 6500ft throughout the day on Saturday. This means that Saturday will mainly bring valley rain and mountain snow across the entire state. With the colder air arriving on Sunday, the snow line will start to fall through the day. By daybreak, it will likely fall to the benches before dropping to valley floors around midday. Keep in mind this is a tricky forecast and we’ll continue to fine tune the snow levels as we get closer to the storm arriving. 

This system coming in this weekend is likely to deliver a very healthy dose of water to Utah with most in the state picking up at least close to a half of an inch of water while there will likely be several spots that could pick up between 1-3″ of water! Our weather will calm with colder in place for Monday, but forecast models are optimistic we could see more active weather into the middle of next week.

The takeaway? We get a little break today, but the weather is expected to ramp right back up heading into and through the New Year’s Day weekend

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