NWS Salt Lake City issues the most winter weather advisories in years

Mar 6, 2023, 5:09 PM | Updated: 7:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — So far, Utah is having the kind of snow season it needs to help recover from the extended drought. Snowpack in the mountains is in record territory, and the number of storm warnings is another positive gauge of the intensity of snowfall this winter, and the National Weather Service expects the trend to continue.

Season to date, the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued the greatest number of winter weather advisories since 2008, and the greatest number of winter weather warnings since 2005.

“So that really highlights the winter that we’ve seen in the mountains, where a lot of our northern Utah mountains are near record level of snow pack for this time of year,” David Church, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City said.

It also highlights the amount of snow we’ve seen in the valleys, he said. The weather service issues a winter weather advisory when they expect three inches of snow in the valleys, and six inches of snow in the mountains. They issue a winter storm warning when they expect six inches of snow in the valleys and a foot, or a foot and a half of snow in the mountains.

So far this season, 19 winter storm warnings compared to 15 in 2005, and 34 winter weather advisories compared to 28 in 2008. Those numbers are substantially greater than other years.

“We’ve just been in a really phenomenal weather pattern, when we need it,” Church said. “We’ve been in a really bad drought the last couple of years, so we’re excited to see this amount of moisture coming into our mountains so that will be positive for the snowpack.“

Church said it also looks like this wet pattern will continue, so more winter weather, advisories and warnings are expected.

“Looking at the models going ahead here it looks like we stay active,” he said. “Just in the next week ahead, we’ve got another really wet storm system coming in.”

It will be a return to an atmospheric river pattern.

“Where we get a lot of moisture, more mild temperatures, that will mean more snow for us, and all the way out into California,” Church said.

Potentially through the end of the month.

“I think if we stay active like we’ve seen, chances are, we will continue to see these numbers of watches and warnings and advisories continue to go up.”

Utah’s snowpack typically peaks around April 1. Most of the snow measurement sites in the state are already assured of being well above average.

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NWS Salt Lake City issues the most winter weather advisories in years