After near-record high temperatures, rain and snow are headed to Utah

Southern Utah will get hit worse than northern Utah.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) James Boss holds a large ball of snow as he waits for his bus during a snowstorm in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. The latest storms will bring 1-2 feet of snow to southern Utah mountains, but mostly rain to valleys.

A day after the second-warmest January temperature on record in Salt Lake City, a storm that will bring rain, snow and colder temperatures is moving through Utah.

Officially, it hit 62 on Wednesday at Salt Lake City International Airport, with even higher temperatures in some areas. That’s one degree shy of the all-time record for the month of January — 63, set on Jan. 31, 2003 — and it’s the first time the temperature has risen into the 60s in January since the record was set 21 years ago. In the 150 years since record-keeping began, temperatures of 60 or higher have only been recorded eight times, including Wednesday.

The Pineapple Express that is dropping a deluge on California is coming this way — albeit with considerably less precipitation — and southern Utah will get hit first. Snow is expected to begin Thursday morning, and it will be heavy at times from Thursday afternoon into Friday morning. The storm is expected to taper off Friday night into Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for the southern mountains with advisories across the central and northern mountains, where totals will be less. Southern Utah mountains can expect accumulations of 1-2 feet of snow from Thursday through Saturday, with higher amounts in the Brian Head area.

Rain and snow are also expected in northern Utah, with mostly rain in the valleys and 7-14 inches of snow in the mountains — along with considerably colder temperatures. The forecast high for Salt Lake City on Thursday is 58, and there’s a 30% chance of rain on Thursday afternoon and an 80% chance on Thursday night. The forecast high on Friday is 42 (just about normal for this time of year), and there’s a 90% chance of rain mixed with snow on Friday. Little or no snow accumulation is expected.

There’s a 40% chance of snow on Saturday, with a high of 41, and some areas could see less than a half inch of accumulation. There’s a slight chance of a bit more snow on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with a high of 42, but little or no accumulation is expected.

A second Pacific storm is expected early next week — there’s a chance of rain Monday (with a high of 48), Tuesday (50) and Wednesday (46).

In St. George, there’s a 90% chance of rain on Thursday, a 100% chance on Thursday night, a 90% chance on Friday, and a 40% chance on Friday night. There’s at least a slight chance of rain every day from Saturday-Wednesday. After a high near 60 on Thursday, the forecast calls for highs near 50 Friday-Sunday and rising to the mid-50s on Monday and Tuesday.