El Niño may send storms south again this weekend

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That pesky El Niño is affecting Utah weather again.

The phenomenon caused by unusually warm temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean has split storm tracks much of this winter sending the heaviest snowfall north and south of the Wasatch Front.

And forecasters expect that will happen again this weekend.

"A lot of energy will be going south again on storms for the weekend," said Mark Struthwolf, a forecaster for the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City office. "We will see some precipitation but the lion's share will be mainly in central and southern Utah. That is typical of an El Niño year."

A storm that hit Utah on Wednesday and will likely last into early today was expected to drop between 2 and 5 inches of snow from Ogden north to the Idaho border with only one to 3 inches in the Salt Lake Valley. Ski areas, the Uintas and central mountains could receive 10 to 15 inches through this morning.

A police dispatch center Wednesday night reported having 16 cars slide off roads and another seven cars in accidents in Iron and Beaver counties. No serious injuries were reported.

Forecasters are calling for a 20 percent chance of rain or snow in the Salt Lake area Friday night with chances increasing to 50 percent on Saturday.

High temperatures are expected to range from 40 today and 48 Friday to the low-40s on Saturday and Sunday.

In Utah's Dixie, forecasters are calling for mostly clear skies today and Friday with a chance of rain moving in late Friday and highs in the 60s.

There is a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday but skies are expected to be mostly sunny Sunday as many Utahns return from the big NASCAR weekend in Las Vegas.