Advisories issued across Utah mountain areas ahead of cold winter storm

This map shows snow forecasts for Utah between Friday and Monday. Some mountain areas may receive over 1 foot of snow. (National Weather Service)

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SALT LAKE CITY – The National Weather Service on Friday issued several winter weather advisories ahead of a system forecast to produce over a foot of snow in some of Utah’s mountains this weekend.

A system that originated from Southern California arrived in the state earlier in the day, producing rain, thunderstorms and mountain snow. But a second moisture-filled cold front that originated from the Pacific Northwest will bring in cool air that will produce more snow by the end of the weekend, said KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank.

“(Friday) and Saturday, it’s valley rain. But by Saturday night and Sunday, it’s all snow,” he said.

A third cold front is then forecast to come through the state from the north Monday, producing a little more snow.

How much is forecast

The advisories for the Wasatch Mountains, as well as ranges in central, southern and eastern Utah, take effect Saturday. All but the southern Utah locations remain in effect Sunday.

An alert for the Wasatch Mountains – including Alta, Brighton, Mantua and the Mirror Lake Highway – is in effect the longest, from noon Saturday to 8 pm Sunday. That’s also where the most snow is expected. The weather service projects 6 to 12 inches of snow in those areas; some parts in the area may receive over 18 inches.

The West Uintas may also end up receiving up to a foot of snow, while 5 to 10 inches of snow is forecast for mountain areas in central Utah and the Book Cliffs, and 4 to 8 inches are forecast for the mountain areas in southern Utah.

“This is a producer and it’s going to, again, take multiple days … but I’ll tell you we need this water and it’s so good to get it,” Eubank said.

Areas not included in the advisory are forecast to receive some snow over the weekend, especially as the second cold front moves into the state Saturday evening.

Six to 10 inches is forecast for Park City; 1 to 4 inches is projected for valley areas in Davis County northward; 2 to 7 inches are forecast between Salt Lake City and Provo; and 3 to 6 inches are forecast in other parts of the state, like Cedar City, Nephi and Monticello.

Even St. George may receive a trace of snow through the weekend.

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online at the KSL Weather Center.

Travel impacts

The Utah Department of Transportation issued a weather alert for Utah roads that lasts through 6 pm Saturday. The alert states that “widespread rain and snow showers” are expected Friday night through Saturday afternoon.

“The main road snow concerns will remain across higher mountain routes in southern Utah,” the alert states. “Very light road snow / slush is possible across higher portions of most interstates late overnight and into Saturday afternoon across the state.

The roads most likely impacted are:

  • I-15: Utah-Idaho border to Brigham City; Cove Fort / I-70 junction and Blackridge to Leeds
  • I-70: Clear Creek / Fish Creek Summit and Ivie / Salina Summit
  • I-84: Utah-Idaho borders Tremonton
  • US 6: Soldiers Summit to Price
  • US 40: Mayflower Summit and Daniels Summit / Strawberry Reservoir area
  • US 89: Logan Summit and Logan Canyon through Cache Valley; Thistle / US 6 junction area; Hatch to Mt. Carmel junction
  • US 189: Upper Provo Canyon
  • US 191: Summit areas north of Vernal and Indian Canyon
  • State Route 12: Boulder Summit and Bryce area
  • State Route 14: Upper canyon and summit areas
  • State Route 20: Summit areas
  • State Route 143: Upper canyon and summit areas
  • State Route 190: Big Cottonwood Canyon
  • State Route 210: Little Cottonwood Canyon

Another alert is likely to be issued later for Saturday and Sunday.

Avalanche threat

Experts are also warning that the storm will likely result in new avalanches this weekend. The Utah Avalanche Center forecasters say new snow will fall on top of the current weak snowpack that became brittle as a result of the mild and dry past few weeks, which can cause that layer to give way.

The agency listed Utah’s mountains as having a “moderate” risk for avalanches Friday. The risk could increase during the weekend.

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