SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Thursday, Utah! A monster storm system has slammed the West Coast and a weakening atmospheric river will transport some wet weather into the state starting today.

Energy from this strong area of low pressure just off the Pacific moves into our neighborhood this afternoon. The valley rain and mountain snow come trekking through Utah with a cold front in tow this afternoon so you can expect widespread wet weather impacts.

With a southerly wind transporting warmer air in ahead of the cold front, this will mainly be a valley rain and mountain snow event with the snow line likely climbing to around 6500 feet in the afternoon. The snow will, once again, be heavy, wet, dense snow which will lead to avalanche danger and impact travel on mountain routes. 

As a result, The National Weather Service issued a Winter Strom Watch for the high country of Southern Utah and includes the cities of Brian Head and Alton. Mountains statewide could see 6-12″ of snow and in the area under the watch, up to 16″ is possible especially in Pine Valley and near Brian Head. This watch will likely be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning with the chance of a Winter Weather Advisory popping up for other parts of the state including the Northern and Central parts of Utah. 

As far as valley rain goes, a southerly flow can sometimes favor Ogden and Provo more than Salt Lake City. Periods of moderate to heavy rain are expected and weather models suggest about a quarter inch of rain in several spots. Early Friday morning,  the valley rain may transition back to snow in our northern valleys as colder air begins to move in, depending on how long the moisture lingers behind the cold front. 

While we could see straight snow in our valleys (mainly northern) on Friday, any accumulations look to be minor, generally a few inches or less. The transition from rain to snow is tricky, and if it happens, you can expect a trace to 2″ for northern valleys, 2-4″ for benches, and 2-6″ for mountain valleys with Park City on the higher end of this and again, snowfall mountain totals between 6-12″. 

Moisture will gradually exit through the day on Friday leaving us with a dry and fairly seasonal Saturday and a slight chance of an isolated mountain snow shower for Sunday. Our active pattern looks to stay in control with a couple more systems move our way through the first half of next week. At this point, that could mean more valley rain and mountain snow, so stay tuned!

Bottom Line? Our next storm fills in thanks to a decaying atmospheric river, so expect valley rain and mountain snow this afternoon.

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