Advisory issued as rain and snow return to Utah

Feb 15, 2024, 6:41 AM | Updated: Feb 16, 2024, 5:21 pm

cars driving in the rain...

Motorists drive in the rain in Millcreek on Feb. 7. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Mountain snow and valley rain are back in Utah’s forecast after a short lull following a wet first week of February.

The National Weather Service updated a winter weather advisory it issued earlier Wednesday to include more of Utah’s mountain ranges. The advisory states that some high-elevation locations may end up with another foot of snow or more over the next few days.

KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson says some valley communities may also receive some snow, but the storm is more likely to produce rain. The incoming storm is forecast to arrive from the west late Wednesday into Thursday morning, following a smaller storm system that passed by northern Utah Wednesday morning.

“(It’s) not a big one, but it’s much stronger than the one (Wednesday morning),” Johnson said. “5 a.m. (Thursday) morning, showers increase across the northern end of the Wasatch Front. It’s snow for southeast Idaho. Cache Valley, you’re going to be on the fringe there of rain and snow.”

The mixture of mostly valley rain and mountain snow will begin to creep more south as the day continues, hitting more parts of the Wasatch Front. Scattered showers are forecast for the Wasatch Front and northern Utah later in the day.

Johnson said areas as far south as Cedar City and St. George may get some minor showers, but the majority of the precipitation is expected in the state’s northern half. There is a chance for valley rain or snow throughout the region Friday morning before the storm system clears out.

A winter weather advisory covering the Wasatch Mountains south of I-80, as well as the West Uinta and Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs ranges, will remain in effect through 1 p.m. Thursday. It states that 8 to 15 inches of snow are possible, which the upper Cottonwood Canyons could end up with totals close to 18 inches.

An advisory for the Wasatch Mountains north of I-80 will remain in effect through 5 p.m. Friday. It also states that 8 to 15 inches of snow is possible in the area, and totals may reach 18 inches or more by the Bear River Range. The area is more likely to be impacted by some additional snow on Friday, which is why the advisory is longer.

Both advisories warn that blowing and drifting snow might make driving difficult at times across mountain roads. Traction laws may be enforced through some routes.

Johnson said models also indicate that the storm may dump 0.20 to 0.40 inches of precipitation across Utah’s northern half by noon Thursday before the system clears out.

Additional showers are forecast for the Wasatch Front and northern Utah this weekend and early and early next week, but it’s too early to project how much precipitation those will provide. The storms may end up stretching down into southern Utah, as well.

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

The additional precipitation is expected to be a boost to Utah’s snowpack, which gained a statewide average of 2.7 inches of snow water equivalent from storms between Feb. 1 and late last week. Utah’s snowpack remains 111% of the median average for this point in the snow collection season.

The season typically peaks in early April before the spring snowmelt begins. This process accounts for about 95% of Utah’s water supply.

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Advisory issued as rain and snow return to Utah