SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Happy Tuesday, Utah! Our next warm and wet storm system is upon us and after hitting the upper 50s in Salt Lake City yesterday, it’s not out of the question to say daytime highs in the 40s, 50s, and 60s along the Wasatch Front. And down south highs will mainly be in the 40s and 50s as St. George climbs into the mid-60s.
The bottom line? Our next warm and wet atmospheric river event means widespread wet weather statewide from Tuesday into Wednesday!
We will see temperatures bump a bit today, especially on the western side of the state, due to some gusty southerly winds. A Wind Advisory issued by the National Weather Service begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and remains in place until noon on Wednesday. The affected area includes most of the state west of I-15, including the Tooele and Rush Valleys, the Great Salt Lake Desert and mountains, parts of Juab and Millard counties, and the SW desert near Cedar City.
Areas under the advisory will see sustained winds between 25-35 mph and gusts could top 45-55 mph. East-to-west driving routes, including I-80, will see strong southerly cross winds, and high-profile vehicles face travel impacts.
The winds will amplify throughout the day and hang on until Wednesday. Wet weather is the next layer of this storm and there’s plenty of moisture potential. Expect increasing cloud cover throughout the day as this storm taps into the atmospheric river which is subtropical moisture coming in off the Pacific. This will result in widespread wet weather across Utah likely from the second half of Tuesday through Wednesday.
As the warm front lifts through the north our snow levels climb significantly. You can expect the snow level in the north to hit between 7000 and 7500 feet, the central mountains rising to 8000 feet, and levels to hit at or above 9000 feet in southern Utah.
The snow levels will gradually begin to drop Tuesday night through Wednesday as colder air works its way back behind a cold front and by Wednesday night the snow level in northern Utah could drop back down to the benches, between 5500 – 6000 feet. Overall, we will see valley rain and mountain snow, but if the moisture lingers behind the front there is a chance that some benches and typically colder valleys like Cache Valley, could see some mixed precipitation, or some sloppy wet snow.
Heavy mountain snow has prompted several winter alerts for mountains throughout the state. A Winter Storm Warning is set for southwestern Utah mountains including Brian Head and Alton. The warning begins at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and is set to remain in place until 6 a.m. Thursday. 6-12″ of snow accumulations are expected in the mountains with 18″ in areas like the Pine Valley Mountains and Tushar Range. Winter travel conditions will be made trickier with strong winds.
The Winter Storm Warning for the Wasatch Mountains and Western Uintas starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. Expect one to two feet of snow for the Cottonwoods and Bear River Range. Snow totals will be slightly less for the central Utah mountains. As a result, a Winter Weather Advisory from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Thursday has been issued for the area. In general, above 8,000 feet, 6-12″ of snow is expected including the Wasatch Plateau, Book Cliffs, and cities like Scofield.
The eastern Uinta Mountains, La Sal, and Abajo Mountains are under a Winter Storm Watch likely to evolve into a warning. Snow accumulations of seven to 14″ are expected for these spots with the La Sal Mountains accumulating up to two feet.
With healthy moisture expected to move in, heavy mountain snow is expected. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings that will go into effect Tuesday afternoon and will continue through Wednesday night for the northern and southern mountains. The northern mountain could potentially pick up between one to two feet with isolated higher amounts being possible. The southern mountains could see six to 12″ with isolated spots like Brian Head and the Pine Valleys potentially getting closer to 18″. In both warnings, strong winds are expected.
While our mountains will see the healthiest snow totals, you can’t rule out the chance of mountain valleys picking up some snow. Mountain valleys are likely to see 1-6″ with possibly up to 8″ around Park City, but in both cases, times of straight rain will be possible given the higher snow levels.
On the benches, and typically colder valleys like Cache in northern Utah a trace 3″ looks possible. For our valleys rain is most likely, however, if the moisture lingers as the colder air moves in, minor accumulations can’t be ruled out between late Wednesday and early Thursday. The isolated showers early Thursday morning will eventually wind down and taper off.
By Thursday afternoon, skies look to dry out as the colder air settles in. We’ll close out the workweek with daytime highs about 5-10 degrees below average.
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