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A one-two wintry punch on tap for Utah

Published February 27, 2012 8:00 pm

Snowstorms could snarl traffic but are unlikely to be enough for state to reach average for this water year.
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Get out the windshield scraper, snow shovel and rubber boots — winter is here, again.

A one-two punch is on its way and Tuesday morning's commute could be a little dicey, according to the forecast from the National Weather Service. It has issued a winter weather advisory stretching from Brigham City to Provo.

The storm could bring 1 to 3 inches of snow to northern Utah valleys. Benches could get 2 to 5 inches and northern Utah mountains could see a foot or more, said meteorologist Mark Struthwolf.

"This storm will affect the morning commute," he said.

Look for the high temperature in Salt Lake City to reach 42 degrees on Tuesday. The low should hover around 30 degrees.

The storm should break Tuesday evening in northern Utah, Struthwolf said. But by Wednesday afternoon, snow will return to high elevations. Northern Utah valleys can expect snowfall again by Thursday.

The second storm will move more slowly, Struthwolf said, and last through much of Friday. It could drop another 2 to 4 inches in valley locations and more than a foot in the mountains. The weather system will be characterized by a number of impulses that will bring snow off and on until late Friday.

For skiers, Friday could be the best day of the season. But avalanche danger remains high.

The Utah Avalanche Center rated avalanche danger as considerable Monday for the Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo mountains, but noted that the danger will increase with winds and the new snowfall.

A couple of feet of new snow in the mountains is welcome during this relatively dry winter, said hydrologist Brian McInereney.

As of Monday, the snowpack in the mountains east of Salt Lake City was 66 percent of normal, and contained 13 inches of water, he said. Normal snowpack water content for this date is 21 inches. Last year at this time, the mountain snowpack contained 29 inches of water.

It's unlikely that the snowpack will get back to normal by the first week in April, when the runoff begins, McInerney said. "To get back to normal, we'd have to get 12 storms with 1 inch of water by the first week of April," he said. "It could happen, but things would have to get really crazy."

In Utah's Dixie, St. George can expect rain Tuesday with a high of 52. A slight chance of rain is forecast for Thursday with a high of 56.


Reporter Sheena McFarland contributed to this story.






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