Intense snow could lead to emergency alerts on phones

Jan 9, 2024, 1:44 PM | Updated: 1:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency alerts could be sent to cell phones on Tuesday as dangerous wind and snow conditions hit northern Utah on Tuesday and Wednesday.

These alerts are called squall warnings, and they’ve caught users off guard in the past. Snow squall warnings are alerts that should be read carefully because a snow squall can heavily impact a person’s commute.

Meteorologists, troopers urge drivers in northern Utah to watch for snow squall warnings, poor conditions

The hope from the National Weather Service is for users to get the warning so they can plan their commute around when the weather is at its worst.

“A lot of times it’s just a quick punch. So if you do get accumulating snowfall, it can cause problems because it’ll happen in such a short amount of time. It’s basically a thunderstorm, right? Where you get heavy rainfall. It’s quick,” said KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson.

A snow squall can potentially make visibility very low for those on the road due to the snowfall, the snow on the ground, and heavy winds moving it all around.

In fact, visibility may come down to a quarter of a mile or just over 500 feet. That can fluctuate depending on how heavy the snow is.

A screenshot of an emergency alert sent for snow squalls in 2021.

“Some of the gusts can get up to 30 to 40 miles per hour, and then you’ve got blowing snow. You got all sorts of visibility issues, not just from the snow coming down but even coming off the ground snow. So it can complicate things,” Johnson said.

According to the NWS, they enacted snow squall warnings on cellular devices in 2022 and completed nationwide implementation in 2023. NWS also said that squall lines are common east of the Rocky Mountains, which means that Utahns may not be so familiar with the term.

The squall warning will inform the user of which areas are impacted by the squall, how long it will last, and other conditions to expect.

For a detailed look into the weather forecast at your fingertips, download the KSL Weather App.

KSL 5 TV Live


A driver blinks their hazard lights as heavy rain falls over parts of South Florida on Wednesday, J...

Associated Press

Much of US braces for extreme weather, from southern heat wave to possible snow in the Rockies

After days of intense flooding in Florida, that state and many others are bracing for an intense heat wave, while the Pacific Northwest will experience unseasonably cold weather and there is a potential for late-season snow in the Rocky Mountains early next week.

1 day ago

Signs advertising fresh fruit and vegetables along Box Elder County's Fruit Way along Highway 89....

Alex Cabrero

Utah farmers say a strong winter has led to an amazing crop season

Fruit and vegetable farmers in northern Utah are saying this crop season might be one of the best in recent memory.

3 days ago

Temperatures officially hit 100 degrees in Salt Lake City Thursday for the first time this year, wh...

Lindsay Aerts

Salt Lake sees first 100-degree day, here’s how it’s measured

Temperatures officially hit 100 degrees in Salt Lake City Thursday for the first time this year. The measuring of the temperature isn’t as cut and dry as you might think.

3 days ago

UDOT construction crews working on a project in Ogden. (Karah Brackin, KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin

UDOT crews battle heat while working on construction projects

As double-digit temperatures start climbing into the triple digits and breaking records, construction is still happening.

4 days ago

Salt Lake City officials issued a new warning to escalate the ozone threat in the Salt Lake Valley ...

Andrew Adams

SLC issues summer pollution warning, which experts say is more difficult to escape than the heat

Salt Lake City issued a new warning for ozone pollution levels amid rising temperatures that are supposed to keep going up.

4 days ago

With temperatures soaring, so does the chance for heat exhaustion and heat stroke to set in....

Karah Brackin

Beating the heat as record-breaking temperatures move in

With temperatures soaring, so does the chance for heat exhaustion and heat stroke to set in.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Intense snow could lead to emergency alerts on phones