SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Friday, Utah! We made it to the end of the workweek! If you have been a fan of this elongated stretch of mild temperatures and sunshine, it will be important for you to enjoy today because we have BIG changes on the way as the strongest cold front of the season will arrive by tomorrow.

As for today we’ll see mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies across the Beehive State with daytime highs very similar to yesterday. That means mainly 60s and 70s in northern Utah as the Wasatch Front could see highs in the mid to upper 70s while southern Utah sees mainly 70s and 80s. Throughout the second half of the day though, we will start to go through some transitions and the front inches closer. Clouds will gradually begin to increase from the afternoon into Friday night along with cloud coverage.

With the increased winds there will be an elevated fire risk for portions of northern Utah (mainly in the higher terrain), northeast Nevada, and SW Wyoming where there is also a critical fire risk in Sweetwater County. In SW Wyoming the Red Flag Warning from yesterday continues through this evening. Within the Red Flag Warning and the elevated fire risk, be sure to avoid any outdoor burning.

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Saturday likely starts the day dry across the state, but the cold front will be knocking on our door from the north. As we go through the day, valley rain and mountain snow will spread across the Beehive State. The snow line is likely to start quite high, above 8000ft.. The snow line will start to drop as we go into Saturday night as much colder air filters in. In northern Utah daytime highs will come down by about 10-15 degrees compared to Friday, but down south, since it will take the front longer to arrive, highs will only ease down a few degrees.

The best chance for wet weather across the entire state will be from the second half of Saturday through Saturday night. In northern Utah the snow line by Sunday morning is likely to drop to at least the high benches along the Wasatch Front with a chance we could even see a wintry mix along the Wasatch Front as we drop into the mid and upper 30s Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon the wet weather will begin to taper down south but is likely to remain scattered in northern Utah. The snow line is likely to rebound a little bit but will drop again going into Sunday evening. If moisture is still around, snow could drop to most benches and there’s even a chance we will see some straight snow along the Wasatch Front in what could be aided by some lake effect.

Daytime highs on Sunday will be more reminiscent of mid-November as highs in northern Utah will range in the 30s and 40s while southern Utah gets highs in the 40s and 50s. Even St. George will struggle to climb to the mid 60s on Sunday. The cool air will be here to stick around and widespread hard freezes, especially in the higher terrain, are likely into early next week. Make sure you’re taking necessary precautions to protect any sensitive vegetation!

ALERTS

Given the strong storm system coming in, there are weather alerts in place. The first is a Wind Advisory for southwestern and south-central Utah that will go into effect Saturday afternoon and will last through Saturday evening. While Saturday will be windy across the state with gusts up to 40 mph, the strongest winds will be found down south. Within the wind advisory winds will be sustained at 20-30 mph with the chance for gusts up to and above 50 mph out of the southwest. This will make for dangerous crosswinds on east-west routes. Power outages will also be possible. Be sure to tie down any loose items in your yard, especially Halloween decorations.

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For the mountains of Utah, a Winter Storm Watch will go into Saturday evening and will be in effect through late Sunday. This Watch includes the southern mountains, the central mountains, the Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, the northern mountains (including the Wasatch, Bear River Range, and western Uintas), plus the Wasatch Back.

During the time of the Watch, the northern mountains will see snowfall accumulation of 6-12″ with a chance for more than a foot in the upper cottonwood canyons where 18″+ can’t be ruled out. The central and southern mountains will have the potential to see 6-12″ as well, but 3-8″ is more likely at this point. Meanwhile, the Wasatch Back will have potential for 2-6″ of snow and higher elevations around Park City could receive closer to 10″ of snow.

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With healthy totals likely for our mountains, winter driving conditions are expected, so be prepared if you have to be out and about this weekend.

Be sure to keep up with the latest as we get closer to the cold front’s arrival as the finer details will continue to come into better focus. We will continue to keep you posted both on-air and online! We are There4You!