SALT LAKE CITY — State transportation officials are urging motorists to use caution while driving Wednesday as a result of the latest storm to move across northern and central Utah.
Overall, the storm isn’t projected to produce as much precipitation as the last few to hit the state. That said, it is likely to cause slick roads across the state as it goes through. It’s also expected to pad improving snowpack numbers in mountain areas across northern and central Utah.
Precipitation began across northern Utah and the Wasatch Front Wednesday morning as a cold front passed through. The National Weather Service reported gusts up to 45 mph with the cold front.
The bulk of the storm was expected to cross through the Wasatch Front by midmorning and most of it will have passed through the northern Utah and Wasatch Front valleys by the late afternoon, according to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman. Mountain areas within the region will continue to receive snow throughout the evening hours.
The National Weather Service projected valley communities from Logan in northern Utah through Nephi and Richfield in central Utah to receive less than an inch of snow as a result of the storm as most of the valleys are expected to receive a rain-snow mix.
Benches across the region could see a couple of inches of snow. Communities in higher elevations like Park City and Heber City were forecast to receive 1 to 3 inches of snow. Most of the snow was expected in the mountains, much like the previous storms to hit Utah over the past couple of weeks.
“We could see well over a foot by tonight in the northern mountains as the storm goes through,” Weyman said.
As for southern Utah, some communities and mountains could receive a brushing of snow but not much Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Due to the storm, motorists traveling on higher-elevation roads are being asked to use caution. The Utah Department of Transportation issued a road weather bulletin, advising drivers to use caution due to slush and snow expected as a result of the storm.
The areas most likely to receive snow and slush are:
- I-15: Santaquin through Nephi; Scipio Summit; Cove Fort, and possibly Wasatch Front at points Wednesday morning
- I-70: I-15 junction over Clear Creek Summit and Salina Summit
- I-80: Parleys Canyon to the Utah-Wyoming border, and possibly valleys at points Wednesday morning
- I-84: Weber Canyon to the I-80 junction
- U.S Highway 6: I-15 junction to Soldier Summit through Helper
- U.S Highway 40: I-80 junction through Heber; Daniels Summit to Strawberry
- U.S Highway 89: Logan Summit through Sardine Canyon to Bountiful; U.S. 6 junction to Manti
- U.S Highway 189: Provo Canyon
- U.S Highway 191: North of Vernal to Utah-Wyoming border; Indian Canyon Summit
- State Route 20: Entire route
- State Route 31: Entire route
- State Route 190: Big Cottonwood Canyon
- State Route 210: Little Cottonwood Canyon
Four-wheel drive or chains are required for motorists driving through the Cottonwood Canyons Wednesday, according to UDOT.
#RoadUpdate Road conditions are running wet with areas of slush in lower and snowy from mid canyon to upper in both #SR210 & #SR190. Plows are out! Even if you have proper traction devices, drive with caution in these conditions. Current snow fall rate at 1″/hour. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/U7GvylBGsd
— UDOT Cottonwood Canyons (@UDOTcottonwoods) February 3, 2021
Meanwhile, the Utah Avalanche Center moved avalanche danger to high in mountain ranges from Logan through Provo on Tuesday. It remains high Wednesday.
The storm is also good news for Utah’s snowpack. As of Wednesday morning, the snowpack for the Wasatch Front regions ranged from 61% to 66% of the normal amount for early February. Every storm has helped slowly improve those figures after a mostly-dry fall.
Following Wednesday’s storm, Weyman said there is a good chance for scattered flurries and showers on Friday. Temperatures were expected to return to the mid-40s with sunshine by the weekend.
Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.