SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Tuesday, Utah! What could be the most impactful winter storm of the season moves into Utah from our northwest today. This large, potent storm kicks off today but will bring impacts to our region through early Thursday morning.
This morning, the most active conditions are toward Cache Valley, where we have the chance for showers near the Utah/Idaho line. This wet weather is on the move and slides further south into the afternoon. By lunch, we will have a valley rain and mountain snow set up for most of northern Utah including the Wasatch Front, and that will hold until an organized cold front pushes through the state.
Our rain will transition from rain to snow, and we see will see rapid snowfall rates. As we go from Tuesday evening into Tuesday night, wet weather will continue to move south as the cold front works south.
Snow accumulations are looking healthy, and we’ll also see some very strong winds ahead of this system, especially in southern Utah whereby this afternoon into Wednesday multiple high wind warnings & watches will go into effect as we could see gusts as high as 65-70mph! The area south and east of the cold front faces these fierce winds, and the cold front slows down in the evening. As a result, a prolonged period of these damaging winds is possible.
The Beehive State is covered in Winter alerts with Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories going into effect throughout the day. We’ll start with the winter storm warnings that will be going into effect.
The first warning is currently in effect and will continue through 2 a.m. on Thursday. This is for the Wasatch Mountains north of I-80. During the duration of this warning, 2-3 ft. of snow is expected, but we could see isolated higher totals in the Bear River Range and Ogden Area Mountains.
Through 11 p.m. Wednesday, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for Eastern Box Elder County, Cache Valley, and Bear Lake & the Bear River Valley. During the duration of the warning, 6-12″ of snow is expected along with wind gusts potentially up to 45 mph.
From 2 p.m. Tuesday through 5 a.m. Thursday, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for the Wasatch Mountains south of I-80, the western Uintas, and the Wasatch Back. For the mountains within this warning, 2-3 ft. of snow is expected with locally up to 40″+ for the Upper Cottonwoods. For the Wasatch Back, 1-2 ft. of snow will be possible.
From 5 p.m. Tuesday through 11 p.m. Wednesday, Winter Storm Warnings will be in effect for the Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, the Central Mountains, the entire Wasatch Front, Tooele & Rush Valleys, and southwestern Wyoming. 1-2 ft. of snow is expected during these warnings for the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs and Central Mountains. For the Wasatch Front and other valleys within this warning, 8-16″ is expected, with locally up to 20″ for the benches.
Starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday through 11 p.m. Wednesday, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for the southern mountains where 1-2 feet of snow is expected. We also could see wind gusts as high as 75 mph. During that same time frame, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for the western Uinta Basin, Millard and Juab Counties, the Sanpete Valley, and the Sevier Valley. Within these areas, 4-12″ of snow is expected.
At 2 a.m. Wednesday through 11 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a Winter Storm Warning for southwestern Utah. 5-10″ of snow is expected and gusts as high as 60mph will be possible.
Beginning at 3 a.m. Wednesday through 11 p.m. Wednesday, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect for Zion National Park. During the warning, 1-4″ of snow is expected for areas around Rockville and Springville while accumulations of 4-10″ will be possible at the Park. Winds may also gust upwards of 60mph.
The Winter Weather Advisory for the Great Salt Lake Desert and Mountains has been upgraded to a warning. This will be in effect through 8 p.m. Wednesday. 1-3″ is expected near Wendover while 5-10″ is expected along the I-80 corridor east of Wendover. Gusts may reach 45mph.
In eastern Utah, we also have Winter Storm Warnings for the Tavaputs Plateau, the eastern Uinta Mountains, and the La Sal & Abajo Mountains. These will be in effect from this afternoon through early Thursday where 10″+ of snow is expected along with strong wind gusts.
We also now have multiple winter weather advisories. These areas include the upper Sevier Valleys, Bryce Canyon Country, South-Central Utah, Castle Country, Southeastern Utah, and Canyonlands/Natural Bridges. Within these advisories 2-8″ of snow is expected to fall between tonight and Wednesday with gusty winds.
Overall, our northern valleys will see 6-12″, the Wasatch Front and Tooele County 8-14″, benches 10-16″, mountain valleys 12-24″, northern mountains 12-36″, the Cottonwoods 24-40″, Central and Southern Valleys 4-10″, Nephi to Cedar City on I-15 6-12″, Central and Southern Mountains 12-24″, Castle County 2-6″, Uinta Basin and NW Utah 3-6″, and St. George could see straight rain while up to 3″ of snow can’t be ruled out. As we continue to get in new batches of data, we’ll continue to fine tune this forecast so make sure you stay tuned.
Either way, significant snow totals are expected with this storm. UDOT has issued a road weather alert starting tomorrow and will continue through Wednesday night. High travel impacts are expected along almost the entire I-15 corridor while just about all of the state could see moderate impacts which includes times of road slush. In northern Utah the worst travel times will likely be for the Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning commute while the worst times down south will be throughout Wednesday. If you have to be out on the roads during these times, plan ahead as travel could become treacherous and in the high country could become impossible.
By Wednesday night, snow will likely begin to ease across the state, but any calm is likely to be short-lived as another system is expected to move in by Thursday into Friday with maybe another system arriving by early next week. Temperatures by Wednesday will also drop to below seasonal averages with daytime highs staying in the 20s for Salt Lake City, and highs hovering around freezing through Thursday. Temperatures will slowly moderate by the weekend, but we’ll likely stay a bit below average as the pattern looks to remain active.
Bottom line? The most significant storm of the season is upon us with heavy snow, whipping winds and winter travel expected through tomorrow night.