Dreams of a white Utah Christmas could come true this year, although the snow might arrive a day early.
"Most of Utah is already white," said Larry Dunn, head of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City office Wednesday, referring to storms earlier in the week that blanketed much of the state. "There is only a tiny portion in the Salt Lake Valley and up to Ogden that's not white. Most of the state is white, and not much is going to melt. And there is a pretty good chance of the Salt Lake Valley getting some snow Sunday night into Monday."
Until then, travel conditions should be good through much of the state. Dunn said there is little chance of snow through Saturday.
"Travel on Monday [Christmas Eve] might not be so nice," said Dunn. "The perfect situation is [snow falling on] Christmas Eve into Christmas morning, but it looks like it's going to come about a day earlier. But it is still a ways away for us to get this exactly right."
The forecast for Salt Lake City calls for cloudy skies on Friday and Saturday with highs in the low 40s and lows in the high 20s. There is a chance of snow from Sunday through Christmas Day.
Weather in the St. George area should be nice but a little on the cool side. No precipitation is expected, and temperatures should slowly warm through Christmas. There is a slight chance of rain and snow Sunday and Monday.
Dunn said snowpack at Utah ski resorts is near average for this time of year. Many Wasatch Front resorts received between 2 and 3 feet of snow from Friday through Tuesday night. Though much of the terrain still isn't open, especially in the Park City area, the situation is improving.
Brighton topped the state's snow totals with 66 inches, while Alta has accumulated 65 inches. Brian Head near Cedar City is reporting 25 inches. Cold weather should make snowmaking easier.
The Utah Avalanche Center reported avalanche risk Thursday in Salt Lake-area mountains was considerable above 8,000 feet.