New Utah storm may produce 1-3 feet of mountain snow; power officials brace for outages

Nov 7, 2022, 12:53 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 5:44 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s largest power provider is bracing for possible weather-related outages as an atmospheric river is set to churn even more rain, snow and wind into the state to start the workweek.

Rocky Mountain Power officials said Sunday that they are monitoring the latest storm system moving into its service territory, which may be the largest storm yet this season. The power company warns that it could “produce a prolonged period of strong winds and moderate to potentially heavy precipitation starting early Monday morning through Wednesday.” Its service range also includes Idaho and Wyoming.

“The company urges customers to follow recommendations of local and state emergency management officials in being prepared to be without essential public services for up to 72 hours for any emergency or disaster,” officials wrote in a statement.

Earlier Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a high wind warning that remains in effect for most of western Utah through Monday night. KSL meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke said Monday will be “warmer and windy” because of southwestern winds ahead of the next storm. Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph and wind gusts up to 65 mph are expected, according to the warning.

More moisture is on the other side of the wind. Federal meteorologists tweeted that snow will begin falling in the northern Utah mountains Monday afternoon and will continue before they gradually diminish” on Thursday. The heaviest snow is forecast for Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.

The weather service issued a pair of winter storm watches for all of Utah’s mountainous areas. The alert states that 1 to 2 feet of snow are expected for most mountainous areas in the state this week, though some snow accumulations may even reach up to 3 feet in the northern Utah mountains. The northern Utah watch takes effect Monday night and remains in place through Thursday morning; the watch for the mountains in central and southern Utah takes effect Tuesday afternoon and lasts through the end of Wednesday.

“Winter driving conditions can be expected especially across mountain routes, including seasonal roads like Monte Cristo and Mirror Lake Highway,” the alert states. “Be prepared for traction restrictions.”

The agency also tweeted that elevation levels for snow is currently the “greatest uncertainty” associated with the storm, meaning that it’s unclear how much snow valleys will receive. Van Dyke says that valleys should expect rain on Tuesday but that may change to snow Wednesday; the last of the valley showers are expected early Thursday.

She adds that drier weather is in the forecast to close out the workweek. Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online, at the KSL Weather Center.

This week’s storm follows a prolific stretch of mountain snow in Utah. As of Sunday night, the state’s snowpack remains at 396% of normal for this point in the water year, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data. The water year began on Oct. 1.

The agency also lists mountain precipitation collection at 108% of this point in the water year. It was listed at 15% before the first storm of the season provided up to 2 feet of snow in some parts of the state two weeks ago.

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New Utah storm may produce 1-3 feet of mountain snow; power officials brace for outages