Utah forecast: Drier, warmer statewide; avalanche risk remains high
Snowfall • Latest surge dusted valleys, added up to 8 inches to mountain snowpacks
Published: January 24, 2012 07:35AM
Updated: January 24, 2012 07:39AM

Northern Utah is getting a break from a series of snowstorms as the middle of the week arrives, while southern Utahns anticipate balmy weather more like early spring than the depths of winter.

Under partly cloudy skies, the northern half of the state looked for just a 30 percent chance of light snow showers Tuesday with high temperatures in the 40s. Wednesday’s forecast will be much the same, but without forecasters seeing any significant chance for new snowfall.

Southern Utahns awoke Tuesday to some fog in the St. George area, but that was expected to quickly disappear as sunshine established its rule by mid-day and continued into Wednesday. High temperatures were to range into the 50-60 degree realm, though winds of 15-25 mph with gusts of 40 mph were predicted.

Southeastern Utah’s Canyonlands and Natural Bridges region began Tuesday under a winter weather advisory, with about an inch of new snow expected by mid-day.

The latest surge of storms dropped a modest amount of new snow on the state’s mountains and valleys into early Tuesday. The Bountiful benches reported about 6 inches, while northeast Ogden came in near 5 inches and Layton about 2 inches. Salt Lake City’s east bench, meanwhile, had 3 inches and the Salt Lake Valley about an inch; western central Utah’s Oak City reported 4 inches.

Ski Utah reported that the state’s resorts settled for similarly mild results: Brighton had 8 inches of new snow; Brian Head, Wolf Mountain and Snowbasin 6; Alta, Snowbird and Sundance 5 inches; Solitude, Canyons, Deer Valley and Powder Mountain 4; and Park City 2 inches.

The Utah Avalanche Center downgraded its risk ratings for the state’s mountains from “extreme” to “high,” but warned skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts to avoid the backcountry slopes as recent snow storms have left then unstable.

The Utah Division of Environmental Quality issued “green” or healthy air quality grades for the entire state.

Salt Lake City looked for a high temperature of 47 degrees on Wednesday, following a 39-degree reading on Tuesday; Ogden was pegged at 45 and 37 degrees; Provo 49 and 42; Logan 42 and 36; Wendover 47 and 35; Duchesne 34 and 36; Cedar City 49 and 38; St. George 58 and 51; Moab 46 and 45 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com