Fog and fresh snow are pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on October 12, 2021. Travel on Utah roads this weekend is expected to be extremely difficult due to multiple winter weather advisories and heavy snow. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY – Travel on Utah roads this weekend is expected to be extremely difficult due to multiple winter weather advisories and heavy snow. And travelers heading to the Rose Bowl are advised to leave before Sunday to avoid the worst travel day.
KSL meteorologist Matthew Johnson said drivers heading to Pasadena, Calif., for the game should see clear roads most of Saturday, but I-15 between Salt Lake City and Cedar City is expected to see snow most of the day Sunday.
“(The) worst day to travel is Sunday … If you’re traveling to the Rose Bowl, take the road ahead (then),” he said.
Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason agreed and is asking Utah residents heading to Southern California and other destinations to plan ahead and leave early.
“If you’re waiting until Sunday, you’re waiting too long. We’re expecting some really challenging conditions along I-15 across the state,” Gleason said of those headed to the Rose Bowl.
Gleason said road crews are standing by to begin clearing roads as soon as the snow falls. Gleason reminded motorists to give snowplow drivers plenty of room to do their job.
“The crews are well rested and ready to handle whatever comes our way,” Gleason said. “Sunday through Monday is when we’ll really see a lot of plows on the road.”
Rain will continue in the valleys along the Wasatch Front on Friday and Saturday, but is expected to change to snow on Sunday. Valleys could accumulate 1 to 2 inches of snow by the time the storm moves through Monday.
All mountains in Utah are expected to get up to 3 feet of snow between Friday and Monday. The Wasatch Mountains could get between 2 and 5 feet of snow over the weekend, with high amounts found in Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon. There will be a brief lull in the snowfall on Saturday, but the snow will pick up again by Sunday morning.
Between 6 and 12 inches of heavy snow is forecast for the Wasatch Back, which is under a winter weather advisory until Monday morning.
To get up-to-date forecasts in your area, visit the KSL Weather page.
With so much snow expected, an avalanche watch is in effect for most of Utah’s mountains until 6 a.m. Saturday, with avalanche danger expected to be high.
“This storm is going to increase the avalanche danger even more because it’s a wet, heavy snow that’s falling on top of an already thin layer up there,” Johnson said.
The latest winter storm will add to an already well-above-average snowpack, Johnson said, and this storm could make this month one of the snowiest Decembers on record. Alta has already accumulated 137 inches this month, up from an average of 92 inches.
If the weekend goes as expected, the total snow accumulation between 167 and 177 inches could be the third snowiest December on record, behind 244 inches in 1983 and 184 inches in 1981. Third place is currently held by 1996, which reached at 165 inches.
Road weather warning:
The first round of an extended winter storm will bring heavy mountain snow and some minor valley impacts to northern and central UT Friday into Saturday night.
For more information: https://t.co/4P1gO2c9Uo@UtahTrucking
— UDOT Traffic (@UDOTTRAFFIC) December 29, 2022
A winter weather advisory for Bear Lake and the Bear River Valley is in effect and predicts 4-12 inches of snow through Monday morning.
A winter storm is set for Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening with up to 30 inches of snow expected to hit the mountains in southern Utah and the Brian Head area.
The National Weather Service says travel will be “very difficult to impossible.” Due to the warm nature of this storm system, a mix of rain and snow is expected.
Eastern Box Elder County and Cache Valley are likely to experience slippery and hazardous road conditions that could affect morning and evening commutes. The winter weather advisory for Friday said about 2-4 inches of snow is expected and the snow could change to rain late Friday night.
Commuters and people on the road are encouraged to slow down and use caution while traveling. The snowfall forecast is on the National Weather Service website and road conditions can be found on the Utah Department of Transportation website.
The National Weather Service said if you must travel, you should keep a flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of emergency.
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