Snow — finally! — expected this weekend

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Snow tops Mount Timpanogos. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

Winter is making at least a short-term comeback in Utah this weekend, with a storm expected to hit Friday and more snow next week.

“Basically we’ll see accumulating snow along the entire I-15 corridor” with rain in the St. George area, said Eric Schoening, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

The storm will start with rain Friday afternoon changing to snow in the evening. “There’s a good shot at mountain snow as well,” he said.

The National Weather Service forecasts several inches possible in the valleys. And 10 to 20 inches in the northern and central mountains. A weak storm likely will hit the northern mountains on Monday. And then another stronger storm possible on Thursday.

So far this winter, the state has been warmer than average and dry. The average temperature for the first part of January has been nine degrees above average, according to the National Weather Service. That makes it the sixth-warmest January on record. The warmest January was in 1953.

(Image courtesy of SNOTEL)

“Basically what has been the major weather pattern across the U.S. is a large ridge of high pressure over the West and a large trough with a lot of cold air over the Eastern U.S.,” Schoening said. “That pattern has been very persistent and why most places in the West have had a drier and warmer winter. The East has been cold and snowy with unusual amounts of snow in places like Texas and Florida.”

In Utah, all locations are below average for snow water equivalent measurements. Some areas of far northern Utah are closer to normal — 90 and 84 percent of normal, according to a SNOTEL map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. But the Ogden-Salt Lake-Provo area ranges from 63 to 58 percent. And areas of southern Utah are as low as 25 percent of normal.

Wasatch Mountain State Park had to cancel its annual Winter Festival, scheduled for Saturday, because there’s no snow. And a skijoring event scheduled at Soldier Hollow for the first weekend in February has been moved to March because of the lack of snow.

“We’re definitely in a larger hole than we’d typically like,” Schoening said. “There is still some time through February and the spring to make up some ground if we get into a more active pattern.”

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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