Here it comes. A major, and long-duration snow storm is forecast through this weekend, bringing up to 24 inches of mountain snow and 7 inches or more to northern Utah’s valleys.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the region’s Wasatch Mountains spine, running from Logan south through Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and Nephi. The advisory extended from noon Friday to 11 p.m. Sunday.
The snowfall was to be heavy in the higher elevations, and occasionally significant in the valleys, with only periodic breaks over the next couple days.
A Winter Weather Advisory was in place for most of the rest of the state, running from noon Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday. Snow accumulations of 3-7 inches were expected for areas as varied as Utah’s western desert and the south-central mountains and plateaus.
Arrivals and departures at Salt Lake City International Airport remained at normal levels Friday morning ahead of the winter weather alerts in place not only for Utah but, later Friday afternoon, the nation’s Northeast. Passengers were advised to check with their airlines ahead of their scheduled flight times.
By late Friday morning, Delta Air Lines had reported five inbound and eight outbound flights, either originating or ending at airports in the East, had been cancelled due to weather, airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann confirmed.
However, the Utah Department of Transportation was warning motorists to prepare for winter driving conditions that could slow travel, especially on Interstate 80, both westbound and eastbound, and Interstate 15 from the Idaho border south to Arizona.
Northern Utahns, who began Friday under skies growing gray ahead of the storm, looked for a potentially wet and blustery drive home. Saturday’s forecast called for steady snowfall with highs in the low-30s and overnight lows in the teens.
Southern Utah was not to escape the winter weather this time. Friday’s breezy morning was forecast to turn to lower-elevation rain and some mountain snow by late in the afternoon. Saturday’s forecast was for more of that rain-snow mix with highs in the 40s and lows in the high-20s.
The Utah Avalanche Center was keeping a close eye on the evolving weather, too. The risk for dangerous backcountry snowslides was elevated, with the Logan-area slopes earning a “considerable” avalanche grade and the mountains above Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo at “moderate” risk.
However, all that storm activity was doing the state’s air quality good. The Utah Division of Air Quality was flying its “Green,” or healthy air banners for all areas of the state except eastern Utah’s Duchesne and Uintah counties, which earned “Yellow” grades.
Salt Lake City was pegged at a 38-degree high for Friday, with Saturday’s daytime temperature forecast to hit 33; Ogden looked for 36 and 30 degrees, respectively; Provo 42 and 32; Logan 26 and 28; Wendover 34 and 33; Duchesne 33 and 29; Cedar City 46 and 32; St. George 55 and 46; and Moab 50 and 39 degrees.