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Thanksgiving forecast: Cooler, but mostly dry

Published November 20, 2012 4:04 pm

Weather • Travel and ski conditions should be good.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An expected cooling trend will push Utah temperatures more toward normal over the holiday weekend.

A 20 percent chance of showers Wednesday night could make mountain passes snowy and windy for a short time, but conditions statewide should be near ideal for travel most of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Pete Wilensky, a forecaster with the agency's Salt Lake City office, said Thanksgiving Day should be a dry, cool, sunny day with highs in the upper 40s in the Salt Lake area. Utah's Dixie is expecting highs in the upper 60s and lows in the 40s, with temperatures slightly cooler Sunday and Monday.

"A cold front could come through Wednesday evening and that could bring a brief round of rain and some snow showers that would bring a couple of inches at best in northern Utah mountains," said Wilensky. "It will be kind of windy. And there may be an hour or two Wednesday evening when it's a little dicey over Parleys and Logan Canyons as a brief round of wind and snow blows through. But that will be [the] end of it."

The only other blip may come when travelers are driving home Sunday. There's a chance of rain during the day and snow at night, mostly in the northern Utah mountains. But Wilensky said the system does not look large.

"If someone is real nervous about the weather, there is a small chance that travel could get hindered late Sunday," he said. "If you are trying to go north at that time, there could be a little snow here and there. The south doesn't look too bad through Sunday evening. …This is not a big event out of the northern part of the state."

Black Friday shoppers waiting outside in line Thursday evening or early Friday should prepare for low temperatures around 35 degrees, but no precipitation. And early-season skiers can expect balmy conditions in the mountains Friday and Saturday.

Alta, Brighton, Park City, Snowbird and Solitude ski areas are already open, though none are operating all of their lifts or runs. Park City, for example, has just six runs available. Powder Mountain is scheduled to open Wednesday and Snowbasin is set to open Thursday. Brian Head in southern Utah will be open Thursday through Sunday while the Canyons and Wolf Mountain have Friday openings scheduled.

Susie English, of Ski Utah, said recent snow helped some resorts get more runs open.

"Brighton was able to open the Great Western lift on Monday," she said. "The snow was wet and it helped fill in some places with that base. … Considering how early it is, the resorts have been able to open quite a bit of terrain. When the temperatures drop back down, they will start making more snow and get more runs open."

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton