A wintry storm brought several inches of snow to parts of the Wasatch Front on Monday, the first salvo in what’s expected to be a snowy Thanksgiving week.
The National Weather Service reported 6 inches of snow fell Monday in South Jordan, with more than 5 inches in Tooele and 4.8 inches in Sandy. North Salt Lake and South Ogden saw 4.2 and 4.3 inches, respectively, with 4 inches in Brigham City.
The snow accumulation was much greater in the mountains, with Snowbird and Alta resorts reporting 11 inches as of Tuesday morning, according to SkiUtah.com. There was 8 inches of new snow at Eagle Point, 7 inches at Solitude, 6 inches at Brighton, 4 inches at Snowbasin and 2 inches in Park City.
A winter weather advisory remained in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Wasatch Mountains south of Interstate 80 through the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs of central Utah. Total snow accumulation of 1 to 3 feet was possible, the National Weather Service said, and temperatures may become perilously cold.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible during the Thanksgiving Holiday period,” the bulletin warned. “The cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.”
The wintry mix made for slippery roadways; as of Monday night, Utah Highway Patrol reported that its troopers had investigated 270 crashes across the state.
Freezing temperatures overnight left a sheen of ice on many of the roads of the Wasatch Front on Tuesaday morning; NWS meteorologists warned drivers to slow down.
Expect snow to strike again Wednesday, right as Thanksgiving travel picks up, with 5 to 10 inches falling in cities along the Wasatch Front through Thursday. More than 2 feet could fall in the Wasatch Mountains.
Mike Conger, a Salt Lake City-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said this week’s snowstorm could span the Thanksgiving holiday and continue into the weekend.
“It’ll be winding up on Wednesday and will go into Friday night, even to Saturday morning,” he said. “And all of the state is going to get some pretty heavy snow.”
Meanwhile, an even bigger Thanksgiving storm is anticipated in southwest and south-central Utah, where a winter storm is expected to drop 6 to 12 inches in cities from Beaver to Escalante, and south into northern Washington County on Wednesday and Thursday. That storm was expected to bring up to 3 feet to the mountains of southern and central Utah.
The Utah Avalanche Center warned Tuesday of rising risks in the backcountry as snow builds up quickly and winds deposit powder snow on precarious, high-elevation slopes. That sets the stage for avalanches that can be triggered from below or at a distance.
“Shallow, early season conditions cause even small avalanches to be very dangerous, because you could easily be dragged into rocks or stumps [and] logs,” the center’s warning said.