Weather advisory issued across the valley; winter storm warning in effect for mountains
Through Monday, a winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service in parts of Northern Utah and the canyons near Salt Lake and Utah counties. A winter weather advisory has been issued through Sunday morning for all of Utah County and other parts of the valley including Salt Lake City.
Residents can expect heavy snowfall in the mountain ranges with the snow changing to rain in the valleys Saturday night into Sunday morning, according to the NWS.
The Salt Lake and Utah valleys are expected to receive 1-3 inches on the valley floors and 3-5 inches in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. The snow in the valley will be on and off throughout the weekend until changing to rain on Sunday, Alex DeSmet, meteorologist for the NWS in Salt Lake City, told the Daily Herald. In the mountains, it’s predicted there will be a steady fall of snow into Monday morning, especially in the northern mountains.
DeSmet said the NWS is not advising that people stay off the roads in the valley completely, but the public is encouraged to check the Utah Department of Transportation website for road conditions before traveling.
In these valley conditions, DeSmet said, “The best advice is to reduce your speed and increase your following distance.” In addition, he said people should have a first-aid kit in their car, ensure their windshield wipers are functioning well, check that their tires have sufficient tread, ensure their headlights and taillights work and make sure they have an ice scraper in the vehicle.
“The highest snow amounts are expected across the Wasatch Mountains and Wasatch Back, with significant snow also expected for the northern valleys,” NWS reported.
The Wasatch Mountains are expected to receive 20-30 inches of snow with higher amounts in the Upper Cottonwoods. The Wasatch Back is expected to receive 8-16 inches, with more expected in the Ogden Valley.
On mountain routes, traction laws may be enforced, and UDOT advises drivers to take caution when driving. With periods of heavy mountain road snow, indicated by red on UDOT’s map of the valley, the agency advises motorists to take caution as impaired travel is expected. With periods of valley road snow and slush on Friday night, indicated by yellow on UDOT’s map, moderate caution is advised due to minor/intermittent weather-related travel concerns.
UDOT released a road weather alert Friday morning that will last for 24 hours, but DeSmet said another alert likely will be issued Saturday since snow or precipitation will continue throughout the weekend. UDOT stated in a weather alert, “Snow showers are moving over far Northern Utah already (Friday) morning, and will spread over most of Northern and Southwest Utah by midday.”
While the weather risk is moderate, according to NWS, low visibility may occur on the roads due to heavy and blowing snow. DeSmet said heavy snow on roads is expected for the areas under the winter storm warning, and the valley, which is under a winter weather advisory, is expected to have 1 or 2 inches of snow and more slushy areas that require slowing down in a vehicle.
The weather advisory indicates “lower impacts to travel and commerce, more of a nuisance type situation where (it’s) not necessarily dangerous,” DeSmet said, but caution should still be exercised. In contrast, a winter storm warning means higher amounts of snow and greater impacts to travel and commerce are expected, he explained.
While UDOT’s alert only goes through the Saturday at noon, the agencyy said precipitation is expected throughout the weekend and into early Monday. It was planning to issue a new alert later on to address precipitation concerns through the rest of the weekend.