SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy Friday Utah! Even though we saw some wet weather yesterday it wasn’t as much compared to Tuesday and Wednesday. The brief break that we had ends today as we have a couple of systems lined up that will move through Utah over the next several days, through the New Year’s Day weekend.

These storms will be able to tap into subtropical moisture from the atmospheric river moving into the western US to allow significant moisture to move into the intermountain west. In our mountains, heavy snowfall is expected over the next few days while the forecast is a bit trickier in our valleys thanks to a couple of warm fronts that will move through. This will result in a chance for snow, rain, and times of a wintry mix.

Due to expected heavy mountain snowfall, the National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Storm Watches for our Utah mountains. The Winter Storm Warning begins this morning and will continue through 5AM on Monday. The warning includes the central mountains, the Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, the western Uintas, and the northern mountains including all of the Wasatch.

Within the warning, 1-3 feet of snow is expected, but in isolated areas like the cottonwoods, up to 4 feet of snow will be possible! The Wasatch Back is also included in a Winter Storm Warning that will begin this morning and also continue through 5AM Monday. The Wasatch Back will likely receive 6-12″ of snow with places like Park City potentially getting close to or even over 2 feet of snow! Within these warnings, travel will become either very difficult or impossible so keep that in mind for any New Year’s Plan. Also, given the warmer nature of this storm, in the Ogden Valley snow may transition to rain this afternoon which could lead to slushy conditions and impact snow totals. 

The Winter Storm Watch for the southern mountains will begin Saturday afternoon and will continue through Sunday evening. During this time 1-2 feet of snow is expected to fall with up to 3 feet being possible for the Pine Valleys and Brian Head. 

We also have a couple of Winter Weather Advisories that will also begin tomorrow. The first is for eastern Box Elder County and Cache Valley. It will begin this morning and will continue through 11PM tonight. During the time of the advisory 2-4″ of snow will be possible with locally up to 8″, mainly for benches. The other Winter Weather Advisory is for Bear Lake, the Bear River Valley, and SW Wyoming. This will run a little longer, starting this morning and continuing through 5AM on Monday. 5-10″ of snow is expected with locally up to 18″ being possible in southern Uinta County on the southern slopes of the Uintas. 

While heavy snow is expected in our mountains and higher terrain, in our valleys the snow line will be moving around thanks to a few fronts. As we begin today there will be a chance for straight snow along the I-15 corridor, including the Wasatch Front. However, as we go through the day the snow line will gradually climb through the day, likely reaching over 6000ft. by the afternoon in northern Utah and over 7000ft. in southern Utah.

The snow line will continue to remain elevated through Saturday as the warmer air stays in place and on Saturday could be at or even above 6500ft. in northern Utah and around 7500ft. in southern Utah. This means from the second half of today through Saturday mainly valley rain and mountain snow are expected. Daytime highs the next couple of days will run about 5-10 degrees above average with mainly 30s and 40s up north and 40s and 50s down south. 

As we move from Saturday into Sunday a cold front will start to move in. This front will help bring widespread wet weather to Utah, but much colder air will move in behind it. While Sunday likely begins with mainly valley rain and mountain snow, the valley rain will likely change back to snow as the snow line drops down to the valley floors by the afternoon in northern Utah with it dropping to valley floors in southern Utah a little later.

How much snow we may see will depend on how much moisture lingers behind the front, but at this point, we could see some minor accumulations along the Wasatch Front with maybe a few inches or more being possible on the benches. While valley snow accumulations may not be too impressive, the water this system has the potential to be as several spots could see between 1-3″! 

Lingering showers will have the potential to linger into early Monday morning, especially in the mountains, but skies will gradually calm through the day. The calm skies are not likely to stick around though as most forecast models have more active weather ramping back up by the second half of next week. 

The takeaway? Today begins a very active stretch of weather that will persist through the New Year’s Day weekend!

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