SALT LAKE CITY — The snow’s not over yet for many places around Utah Friday and heading into the weekend.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm advisory for areas of southwest Utah from Friday into Saturday. It includes communities like Beaver, Bryce Canyon, Cedar City, Loa, Milford and Panguitch.
In addition, the agency’s offices in Salt Lake City and Grand Junction, Colorado, issued a winter storm watch for areas of the Wasatch backcountry that will go into effect late Friday night and a winter storm warning for Daggett County that will go into effect Saturday morning. Both will remain in place through Sunday afternoon. The warning includes communities like Dutch John and Manila, while the watch includes the Mirror Lake Highway and the Western Uintas.
Meanwhile, the agency also issued a wind advisory for locations of the northern Wasatch Front, as well as northern Utah and Tooele for Friday evening through Saturday morning.
Snow in southwest, central Utah
A storm focused primarily in the southwest region began producing snow in Washington and Iron counties Friday morning.
The storm is also expected to produce snow across central Utah and even some showers near the Wasatch Front throughout the day Friday, said KSL meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke. She added that the storm is “slow moving,” which is why snow will remain in the Central and Southern mountains areas into Saturday.
The advisory issued by the weather service states that it’s expected to provide an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow along the I-15 corridor around Cedar City.
A graphic produced by the weather service added that places like Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks could receive 4 to 6 inches of snow, while Zion National Park could receive 1 to 2 inches. Escalante, Kanab and Milford in southwest Utah were all projected to receive anywhere from 2 to 4 inches by the time the storm clears out Saturday.
Areas of even higher elevation in the region could receive 5 to 10 inches of snow, according to the alert.
Central Utah areas north to locations in the Wasatch Front are also projected to receive snow between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, but not as much.
For example, the National Weather Service forecast communities like Manti, Park City, Price and Richfield to receive an inch or two of snow between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. Communities like Delta, Heber City, Nephi, Provo, Salt Lake City and Tooele were all listed as possibly receiving less than an inch of snow.
More snow is on the way! If planning travel in southwestern Utah tonight, expect steady moderate snow… 3-6″ forecast for Cedar City. Sat-Sun will bring significant accumulations to the northern slope of Uinta Mountains and SW WY as well! #utwxpic.twitter.com/ddDDYVYhEA
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) March 12, 2021
Winter storm warnings, watch for northeast Utah and Wyoming
The storm is then expected to produce even heavier snow for areas of northeast Utah along with stiff winds this weekend.
The National Weather Service’s warning for Daggett County states that it could produce 1 to 2 feet of snow with “locally higher amounts possible.” It adds that wind gusts as high as 45 mph are projected with the storm.
The winter storm watch forecast 8 to 20 inches of snow for the Western Uintas along with possible wind gusts of 45 mph, which the weather service said could result in “areas of blowing snow.”
The Salt Lake City Office also issued a winter storm watch for places of Wyoming in its jurisdiction, including Evanston. The watch forecast snow totals up to a foot in the area.
Wind advisory issued for northern Wasatch Front
Snow isn’t the only thing in the forecast. The National Weather Service also issued a wind advisory for a section of Utah that includes the northern Wasatch Front, northern Utah and Tooele areas from 5 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday.
The areas with the strongest winds expected — Farmington, Parley’s Canyon and Weber canyons — were some of the areas most affected by last September’s windstorm but the eastern winds aren’t expected to be nearly as strong Friday night into Saturday. The advisory states winds will be moving in from the east to northeast during that time, which is forecast to result in 25 to 35 mph winds with gusts up to 55 mph in some places.
Communities listed in the wind advisory include Bountiful, Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Tooele.
“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. A few power outages are possible,” the advisory added. “Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high-profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.”
💨 A Wind Advisory is in effect from 5 p.m. Friday into Saturday morning for gusty east/northeast winds along the Wasatch Front.
💨 The strongest winds will be near Parley’s, Farmington, and Weber Canyons.
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) March 12, 2021
Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.
Impact on travel
The Utah Department of Transportation issued a weather alert Thursday night for travel conditions Friday morning through noon Sunday. It advised “high caution” for travel in pockets of the state.
Those areas included:
- State Routes 14 and 143, especially through high-elevation areas between Iron and Garfield counties Friday afternoon into Saturday morning
- State Route 11 southwest of Price
- U.S. 191 near Indian Canyon Summit, northeast of Price
- Roads in Daggett County, especially Saturday through Sunday morning
The National Weather Service also warned about travel in Daggett County over the weekend.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility,” the NWS alert stated.
Weather Alert: slow moving storm system will continue to impact portions of Utah thru much of this weekend. Higher valleys in southern/eastern Utah like I-15 from I-70 Jct through Cedar City will see periods of road slush. More info here: https://t.co/4P1gO1U0Gg#utwx#utsnowpic.twitter.com/aDSGUiMol1
— UDOT Traffic (@UDOTTRAFFIC) March 12, 2021
UDOT added that “moderate caution” due to slush and snow on freeways may make travel difficult on I-15, especially in central and southwest Utah Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. I-70 throughout southeast Utah was also listed as a place where “moderate caution” was advised, as was the eastern portion of I-80 from Parleys Summit through to the Wyoming border.
Avalanche danger update
The threats of avalanches have subsided in northern Utah over the past few weeks. In fact, as of Friday morning, the danger was “low” along the Wasatch Mountains from Logan to Provo.
The threat was listed as “moderate” in the Uintas parts of the Central Mountains and “considerable” in the Abajos and Moab regions of southeast Utah.
The Utah Avalanche Center also advised Friday that wind patterns were creating problems for some parts of mountains.
“Heads up! The eastern winds are creating sensitive slabs of wind drifted snow in terrain features — such as gullies,” the agency tweeted. “These will be fast running on the old firm surface, and large enough to carry a person through dangerous terrain features. Look for signs of wind drifted snow!”
Impact on snowpack
The storm is a welcomed sight for regions of the state that have had snowpack levels slowly creep back to levels in the 50% to 70% range of the normal for this time of the year. For instance, Southwestern Utah was listed at 57% of its average as of Friday morning.
Duchesne River and Price-San Rafael were the two other regions in “orange” as of Friday morning but also are regions expected to receive more of the snow from the storm this week.
The Northeastern Uintahs region is where the most snow is forecast. That was listed at 75% of its average ahead of the storm.
The statewide snowpack is about 74% of its average for March 12, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.