SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Valentine’s Day, Utah! Instead of Cupid shooting areas, he’s sending a winter storm through the Beehive State today.
The bulk of the impacts of this storm when it comes to moisture will be in the southern two-thirds of the state where we have multiple winter weather advisories and warnings in effect through tomorrow afternoon. In northern Utah, we won’t see as much moisture, but isolated to scattered snow showers will be possible through the rest of today through tonight with maybe a few lingering showers in the high country through early tomorrow.
It’s also going to be a significantly colder day today compared to yesterday with highs ranging about 10-15 degrees colder and strong winds will make it feel even colder. In northern Utah when it’s not snowing we’ll see partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies.
As for the southern half of the state, we have winter weather advisories that encompass southwestern Utah, south-central Utah, southeastern Utah, the central and southern mountains, and the eastern portions of Millard & Juab Counties. In our central and southern valleys, 2-5″ of snow is expected with isolated higher amounts that could total over half a foot. The central and southern mountains can expect to see between 6-12″ with isolated amounts higher than 15″ being possible.
We also have two Winter Storm Warnings, the first for the Glen Canyon & Lake Powell where 2-6″ is expected and the other for the La Sal and Abajo Mountains where 7-15″ is expected. Within these advisories and warnings, strong wind gusts of 45-55mph are also likely which could lead to extremely difficult if not impossible travel. The best strategy would be to stay off the roads in the southern two-thirds of the state, but if you have to get out and about, be EXTREMELY careful.
In St. George and in lower Washington County, there is not a winter weather advisory, but there is a very good chance we’ll see rain transition to a wintry mix or even straight snow this afternoon into tonight. Minor accumulations also can’t be ruled out in St. George either if we do see straight snow!
As we go into tonight we’ll continue to see strong winds across the state and with winds out of the northeast, canyon winds will be possible. There are two High Wind Watches that will go into effect this evening and will carry into tomorrow. The first is for lower Washington County and the second is for the eastern Uinta Basin where in both locations, gusts to 60 mph will be possible.
For the northern Wasatch Front, there is a wind advisory that will be in effect from the overnight hours through early on Wednesday as gusts to 45mph will be possible, especially from Ogden Canyon down to Millcreek Canyon. Within the watches and advisories be sure to tie down loose objects and power outages will be possible so plan ahead just in case.
With the strong winds, there will be some dangerous wind chills tonight, especially in the high country. There are also a few wind chill warnings that will go into effect tonight and will continue through tomorrow morning. Those include Cache Valley where wind chills could drop to -15, Bryce Canyon Country where wind chills could drop to -25, and at Zion National Park where the wind chills could drop to 0. In the case of Zion and Bryce Canyon, accumulating snow is also expected through tonight and that combined with these dangerous wind chills will make for an extremely dangerous night for anyone out in the elements.
By tomorrow afternoon, this storm will begin to pull away and we’ll get calmer conditions to end the workweek as high pressure begins to build back in. Wednesday and Thursday will be quite chilly with highs and lows well below our seasonal averages, but temperatures will gradually moderate for the second half of the workweek into the weekend with mostly dry skies. At this point, it looks like skies will stay fairly calm through Saturday, but from Sunday into early next week there may be another storm that moves in. We’ll be tracking that and keep you informed as that potential storm evolves.
Bottom line? Mother nature gifts us winds to clean the air, widespread moisture potential, and very cold temperatures with strong winds!