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There’s a winter storm warning in Utah’s mountains, and avalanche danger is high

Rain and above-normal temperatures are expected at lower elevations.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Two mothers and their children build a snowman in Centerville, Dec. 9, 2021. Not much snow is not expected at lower elevations this week – mostly rain — but 1-2 feet of snow is expected in the mountains.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that extends until 5 p.m. Thursday in northern Utah mountains, including the Wasatch and western Uintas, Bear Lake and the Bear River Valley. Precipitation is expected across northern Utah, but it’ll be mostly rain at lower elevations.

The forecast calls for 1-2 feet of snow in the mountains and 3-6 inches in the Bear River Valley. Winds gusting to 60 mph will cover roads with snow and reduce visibility to near zero at times, including on Interstate 80 in northeast Utah and southwest Wyoming.

The warning includes the cities of Alta, Brighton, Woodruff, Randolph, Garden City, Mantua, Logan Summit and the Mirror Lake Highway.

An avalanche warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday in northern Utah mountains, including the Wasatch and Bear River ranges and the western Uintas.

The Utah Avalanche Center cautions that heavy, dense snow, strong winds and the potential for rain on top of snow at lower elevations “will create dangerous avalanche conditions and high avalanche danger.” Both natural and human-triggered avalanches are “likely.” Hikers and skiers are warned to “stay off ... and out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees.”

The warning does not apply to ski areas that have taken avalanche reduction measures.

There’s a 90% chance of snow changing to rain in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, and a 50% chance of rain on Thursday. And temperatures will be unseasonably warm — 43 on Wednesday, 46 on Thursday and 48 on Friday, when partly cloudy skies are expected.

The normal high temperature for this time of year is 38, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are forecast for southern Utah. It’ll be 53 in St. George on Wednesday, 57 on Thursday and 59 on Friday. The normal highs for this time of year are 52-53.

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