SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service issued a few winter weather advisories ahead of another storm that could provide over a foot of snow in the Wasatch Mountains and across northern Utah on Friday evening into Saturday.
It’s also forecast to dump several inches of snow in some of the region’s valleys and impact areas of central Utah.
The Utah Department of Transportation said on Twitter shortly before 9 p.m. that westbound 1-84 was closed at the Utah-Idaho border; UDOT’s traffic website showed the interstate open again as of 10 p.m. Drivers can find updated traffic information available at udottraffic.utah.gov.
State Route 210 in Big Cottonwood Canyon will be closing for uphill traffic at 12:30 a.m. Saturday and will close for downhill traffic at 1 a.m. for UDOT avalanche and safety control. The roads will reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Traction laws are in effect in both Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons in Salt Lake County as of 7 p.m. on Friday. Traction devices such as snow tires or chains are required on all vehicles in both directions for state Routes 210 and 190, according to UDOT.
All vehicles traveling I-80 through Parley’s Canyon are required to have traction devices. Eastbound drivers can stop and put on chains on the right side of the road at milepost 129 and westbound drivers can put on chains at milepost 146 on the right side, UDOT said on Twitter.
Tractions laws are also in place in Sardine Canyon in Cache County on U.S. 91 in both directions, between milepost 2 and milepost 17. National Weather Service meteorologists said earlier Friday the storm would result in “hazardous travel” through higher mountain passes like Logan Canyon.
Northern Utah and Wasatch Front
Heavy snow showers are moving across central and northern Wasatch Front until 10 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said on Twitter. The storm’s cold front has dropped the temperature into the 20s and while roads have remained wet, they could quickly turn icy and drivers are urged to use caution, especially as “overpasses could become icy in a hurry,” the NWS said.
The latest storm is a part of a system that’s moving in from the Pacific Northwest, according to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman. Snow flurries arrived in northern Utah and around the Wasatch Front on Friday morning in a storm smaller than what was coming after it.
The stronger stuff is expected late Friday night into Saturday. The weather service’s winter weather advisories, which were first issued Thursday and updated Friday, will go into effect late Friday afternoon and last through Saturday night. One advisory states that snow accumulations are expected to reach 10 to 20 inches in the Wasatch Mountains north and south of I-80 and in the western Uinta Mountains, with some “locally higher amounts” possible in some areas.
Weather Alert: A cold front will bring mtn & light valley road snow this evening thru SAT PM. The greatest threat of road snow along the Wasatch Front will be SLC north and on the benches. Please use caution while traveling. For more info: https://t.co/4P1gO1U0Gg#utsnow#utwxpic.twitter.com/2wx3EgpwYk
— UDOT Traffic (@UDOTTRAFFIC) February 26, 2021
“Winter driving conditions can be expected on all higher elevation routes especially in the upper Cottonwood Canyons, I-80 near Parley`s Summit and Logan Pass Friday evening into Saturday,” the alert stated.
Possible wind gusts could be associated with the storm but the weather service removed a caution about negative 25 degree wind chills in an update to its winter weather advisory Friday.
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Wasatch Mountain valleys
A second winter weather advisory was issued for Wasatch Mountain valleys — the Heber City, Huntsville and Park City areas — that also went into effect late Friday afternoon into Saturday evening. The weather service stated that travel may be impacted along the Wasatch Front on Saturday morning.
The agency forecast 3 to 6 inches of snow to fall in those areas, with “locally higher” amounts possible in the Ogden Valley. The alert added mountain valleys south of I-80 could receive 3 to 6 inches of snow; some parts of the Ogden Valley could receive upwards of 6 to 8 inches of snow from the storm.
The National Weather Service released an image showing expected snow totals from the storm by Sunday morning, which is about the time the storm will have already passed through. In addition to the areas listed in the advisory, cities like Brigham City, Logan, Nephi, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City and Tooele are forecast to receive anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow.
Winter storm on its way! Northern mtn snow begins overnight and increases in intensity and coverage Friday, with snow dropping to valley floors by Sat am. Expecting 8-14″ in mtns with locally higher amts (i.e. in Cottonwoods); 6-8″ northern benches and 1-4″ valleys. #utwxpic.twitter.com/XyQckZbEJ4
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) February 25, 2021
A third advisory was issued Friday morning for higher elevation areas of central Utah, including places like Cove Fort, Fish Lake, Koosharem and Scofield, that went into effect 8 p.m. Friday and runs through most of Saturday. It advises that some areas may receive 4 to 10 inches of snow.
“Occasional winter driving conditions can be expected, particularly along U.S. 6 from Spanish Fork Canyon to north of Price and the higher summits of I-70,” it stated.
All three advisories encourage motorists to “slow down and use caution while traveling.”
The storm isn’t expected to get the state’s snowpack numbers back to average but is expected to at least help the figure continue to move forward. Utah’s snowpack was at 77% of the normal for this point in the year as of Friday morning, according to SNOTEL data.
The additional snow could also pose avalanche concerns after the threat became less dire than last week. As of 8 a.m. Friday, most of Utah’s mountains were either at “moderate” or “considerable” risk for avalanches, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. The avalanche danger was moved up to “high” for mountains near Logan.
Meanwhile, the forecast calls for better weather heading into March. Temperatures along the Wasatch Front are expected to return to the 40s and even lower 50s by midweek next week, according to Weyman.
Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.
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