SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Weather changes have arrived, and our work week warmth is about to take a turn for below-average temperatures!

A system coming in from the north will lead to big changes across the state Thursday into Friday. The one thing that will be universal statewide Thursday will be strong winds ahead of and behind the cold front. Gusty winds will blow dust, could impact travel with crosswinds, and limit visibility at times. We’ll see sustained winds between 20-30 mph, with widespread gusts over 30 mph tomorrow statewide.

There are certain parts of the state with gusts up to 50 mph expected, and these areas will be under wind advisories. The advisories are posted for areas including Utah Valley, Castle Country, the Uinta Basin, near Moab, and around Flaming Gorge. Stronger winds could deliver gusts over 60 mph in SW Wyoming and in the Uinta Basin, where a High Wind Warning kicks off Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and holds through Thursday night.

The increased winds also lead to an elevated fire risk for Southern Utah. We have extremely dry fire fuels, winds that can easily spread flames, and above-average warmth. These components can lead to erratic fire behavior if a wildfire is sparked. As a result, Red Flag Warnings make a return today for all of southern Utah.

Warnings have been expanded to include SE Utah as well. At noon, Red Flag Warnings will go into effect for the Color Country Mountain, Grand Staircase, and Mojave Desert areas. The warnings for Color Country and the Grand Staircase will be in effect through Thursday evening while the warning for the Mojave Desert Area continues into Friday.

The San Rafael Swell and the Colorado River Basin, which includes Moab, will also see warnings going into effect midday through 10 p.m. Within the warnings, winds will be sustained at 15-25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. This will be combined with humidity values as low as 5% in some spots. Avoid outdoor burning! 

All of these weather alerts are linked to the progression of the cold front, which independently, brings statewide impacts of cooler air! Get ready for below-average daytime highs and overnight lows. Thursday night and Friday night, it’ll be chilly across the state with potential for patchy frost along the Wasatch Front, but freezing temperatures are likely in the higher elevations. There is a Hard Freeze Watch for both Thursday and Friday nights for the Bear Lake and Bear River Valley, the Wasatch Back, and the Sanpete Valleys as lows could dip as far as 25 degrees. It’s important to cover or take in any sensitive vegetation, especially where a hard freeze is expected, but also in the benches and in mountain valleys to be safe!

These weather watches and warnings may continue to evolve, so stay with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast both on-air and online. 

For the latest forecast, click here.

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