by: Thomas Geboy
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The next 24 hours will be active weather-wise as a potent winter storm system moves into the Beehive State. An atmospheric river is currently impacting Central California bringing coastal flooding and heavy mountain snow and that moisture will push into the Great Basin. Atmospheric rivers are narrow bands of wind that transport large volumes of water vapor from the tropics to different climates. In this case, we’ll see a window of high-intensity precipitation that’ll bring snow to our mountains and valleys overnight.
POTENT STORM APPROACHING: The incoming winter storm will come in 3 phases. First with strong winds (especially along/west of I-15) then valley rain & mtn snow this afternoon and evening, then accumulating snow tonight. Be weather aware & be careful on the roads! #utwx #utah pic.twitter.com/MS4EHBgU5g
Strong southerly winds are the first dose to the storm’s precipitation, so the West Desert will battle blustery conditions on Tuesday. A “High Wind Warning” is currently in effect through 6 p.m. for the western side of the state including the Tooele and Rush Valleys and now even the Salt Lake Valley. Gusts could hit up to 70 mph for areas under the warning in Toole and Rush Valleys, while up to 60 mph will be possible in the Salt Lake Valley. Blowing dust and crosswinds will be an issue, with travel complications expected, especially on east-west routes (including I-80 west of SLC).
A “Wind Advisory” is also in effect for many Utah valley locations including Salt Lake Valley, Eastern Juab/Millard Counties, Sevier Valley, Upper Sevier River Valleys and Bryce Canyon Country. These areas could see wind gusts up to 45-55 mph. Wind advisories are also in effect for areas around Canyonlands and southeastern Utah through tomorrow morning. Make sure you secure loose objects, like holiday decorations, ahead of the wind increase.
Behind the front, winds will still be breezy as colder air moves in quickly. The front will move through Utah this evening through tomorrow morning and the moisture associated with it will transition from rain to snow. Most valleys will see rain, heavy at times, and by Tuesday night, the rain will change to snow. This will begin to happen around 8 p.m.-10 p.m.
Expect a period of wet snow late Tuesday into early Wednesday and due to timing, the Wednesday morning commute will likely have impacts. Accumulating snow is expected and with travel impacts, many Utah valleys and mountain valleys will be under a “Winter Weather Advisory” starting from 11 p.m. through 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The window of snowfall is longer in the mountains, with a “Winter Storm Warning” going into effect at 5 p.m through Wednesday morning. With strong winds and snow, mountains routes will encounter blowing snow, limited visibility, and winter driving conditions. We do have a chance of seeing lingering, isolated snow showers Wednesday afternoon, but then the storm clears.
After the front moves through, temperatures will be much colder across the board. Salt Lake City will struggle to climb above freezing on Wednesday and St. George will even see lows fall to freezing during the next few overnights.
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