SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Happy Thursday, Utah! Winds are already blowing this morning across the state from the south and temperatures are trending much warmer from yesterday as a result.

The “warm before the storm” is thanks to another low pressure trough sliding down the West Coast with sights set on the Beehive State.  With southwest flow in place, and an approaching cold front, we’ll see milder temperatures this afternoon with increasing winds.  

Wind-related advisories and warnings have been issued for much of Western Utah, including the Tooele and Salt Lake Counties, beginning at noon Thursday through early Friday morning.  Winds of 25-35 mph are expected with gusts to 55 mph. 

Gusts of 65 mph are possible in some southwest counties including the Tooele and Rush Valleys which are under the High Wind Warning. Unsecure items could be blown away and travel impacts to I-80 are expected as blowing/drifting snow is likely. SW winds also warm temperatures so highs will be climbing into the upper 40s in most locations, while Salt Lake has a potential to reach 50 and St. George will be close to average. Expect increasing cloud cover today as well. 

As the cold front sweeps through the state tonight, Northern Utah will see rain/snow showers initially late Thursday with mountain snowfall.  This system taps into subtropical moisture and is expected to pack a decent punch in the mountain areas.  Snow levels will drop to the valley floor around midnight into Friday morning and accumulating snow is expected. 

The snowfall forecast calls for 2-5″ in the northern valleys, 3-6″ on the benches, 6-10″ for the Wasatch Back and mountain valleys while most mountain locations will see between 6-12″.  The Cottonwoods are expected to pick up between 12-18″ so powder hounds will get another good day of runs this week. Due to accumulating snow, a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the Wasatch Front and mountains in Northern, Central and Southern Utah. 

This watch will likely evolve into a warning for parts of Utah this afternoon. With snow expected overnight, the Friday morning commute will likely bring challenges. Prepare for wintry travel and give yourself some extra time.

Conditions quiet through Friday afternoon with only a lingering mountain shower, and Saturday provides another break in the active skies. However, another storm is looming for the end of your weekend and into the work week.

Bottom Line? Strong wind gusts Thursday with increasing mountain snow showers this evening. 

Stay one step of the weather with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast. Follow along with us both on-air and online with ABC4 News.