Rain, snow to impact many parts of Utah throughout Easter weekend

Mar 28, 2024, 8:23 AM

A UDOT snowplow clears the road in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Feb. 9. Up to 2 feet of snow or more is...

A UDOT snowplow clears the road in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Feb. 9. Up to 2 feet of snow or more is possible in parts of Utah's mountains between Thursday and Sunday, forecasters say. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It might be spring, but winter weather remains in Utah’s forecast for Easter weekend as the end of the traditional snowpack collection period nears.

The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for the Wasatch, West Uinta and Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs mountain ranges, which could get up to another foot of snow or more on Thursday. However, KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank said mountain snow and valley rain will be a key fixture across many parts of the state through Sunday.

“It’s the leading edge of what’s going to be a multiple-storm event,” he said.

There are a couple of “pieces” that will eventually play into Utah’s forecast over the next few days, Eubank explained. The first is a large low-pressure system churning precipitation off the Pacific Northwest coast. Some parts of the storm were already over Utah’s northwest border Wednesday evening, but the first big wave will arrive on Thursday.

Some light valley rain and mountain snow are likely in the morning, but the precipitation is forecast to pick up as a cold front sweeps through the state in the afternoon before things get a little weird.

“The storm brings snow to the mountains and then it stalls over central Utah on Friday. It just sits there and waffles and waits,” Eubank said, noting that showers could remain in the area Friday and Saturday as the system stalls.

A larger second piece is forecast to arrive from the southwest over the weekend, which could lead to some “heavy” valley rain and mountain snow late Saturday and on Easter Sunday, he said. Showers could even linger into Monday in some places.

The storms have the potential to deliver plenty of additional water in Utah.

The winter weather advisories — tied to the first wave of precipitation — state that 3 to 12 inches of snow is possible between Thursday morning and Thursday night, while some spots in the upper Cottonwood canyons could end up with as much as 15 inches of snow.

Eubank said northern and central Utah valleys could get between 0.25 and 0.75 inches by Friday morning before the second wave arrives. That second wave will likely provide not just more moisture for those parts of the state but more widespread moisture statewide, including St. George, on Sunday, he added.

“Over the next four days, the mountains could get 2 to 2½ feet of more snow. And the valleys, we get a ½-inch to an inch of rain,” he said.

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online at the KSL Weather Center.

All of the precipitation continues to boost Utah’s snowpack, which is already well above its seasonal median. The statewide average is now up to 17.6 inches of snow water equivalent statewide, 128% of the median for this point in the year and 110% of the annual median, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data.

Utah’s snowpack tends to peak in early April before the snow collected in the mountains melts into streams, creeks and rivers that flow into Utah’s lakes and reservoirs. The state’s reservoirs are already up to 84% capacity before the main snowmelt season.

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Rain, snow to impact many parts of Utah throughout Easter weekend