SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Wednesday Utah! We are coming off of record-breaking warmth in Salt Lake City with a high of 83 degrees yesterday, and our first 90 degrees day in St. George. We will remain mild today with the help of southwesterly winds ahead of our next storm system.
The bottom line? Whipping winds for Wednesday with mild temperatures ahead of wet weather potential Thursday.
Daytime highs across the state will mainly range in the 60s and 70s outside of the mountains, but in Salt Lake, we’ll come close to hitting the low to mid-70s while St. George aims for the mid-80s. Increasing cloud cover should be expected today as we funnel in moisture and active skies. The area of high pressure that has dominated the weather pattern shifts further east today. That allows for a weak, initial cold front to arrive, and we see daytime highs slightly back off.
By Thursday, the system driving the cold front arrives and this introduces precipitation potential. This system ushers in colder air so we will deal with a drastic drop in temperatures in the north and a noticeable dip in the southern part of the state as well. By tomorrow, daytime highs will roughly be 15-25 degrees cooler compared to what we had on Tuesday!
The wet weather with this system brings a chance for valley rain and mountain snow with the best chance being in the northern two-thirds of the state and in eastern Utah. Precipitation timing and temperature will dictate precipitation type and while this looks like a valley rain and mountain snow set up, as the colder air moves in, some areas will see straight sloppy, spring snow, especially in typically colder valleys like Cache. Ground temperatures are warmer so valley accumulation is not likely, road slush is possible and whatever falls will not stick around.
The mountains could pick up 4-8 inches with only about an inch or two expected in valley areas that see snow. Some trailing energy behind this main system leaves a slight chance for a few lingering showers Friday, but high pressure is anxious to rebuild and that will allow temperatures to rebound through the weekend with sunshine.
We will be adding additional snow to the already unstable snowpack, but the colder air may help ease melting a bit. Warmth and sun angle have played into these conditions and the latest Avalanche Warning was extended through 6 a.m. Thursday. The newest warning includes the Wasatch Range, Bear River Range, Wellsville Range, Oquirrh Mountains, Stansbury Range, Skyline area and Uintas. This means that just about all northern mountains are included in this warning, but this warning also includes the foothills of northern Utah, particularly in Cache and Ogden valleys. Be sure to avoid and stay off slopes greater than 30 degrees and avoid avalanche runout areas.
These warming temperatures have also accelerated lower-elevation snow melt and runoff through the state. Right now, the only flood watch in our area is in NE Nevada which is in effect through Wednesday night. Pocatello, Idaho has a hydrologic outlook warning of snow melt in the area. In Utah, there are no watches, warnings, or flood advisories. However, some rivers and streams over the next few days will be running high, swift, and cold. Be sure to keep any kids or pets away from these areas.
Enhanced runoff is expected primarily in lower elevations with the possibility for mid-elevations as well. Slot canyons, especially in southern Utah, may be inundated with runoff so be sure to avoid any backcountry hazards. To prepare yourself it is advised to clear deep snow from foundations and clear drainage paths.
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