Powder possible in Salt Lake City as weekend temperatures drop

After abnormally warm weather, a cold front will sweep across the state on Saturday.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Snow falls in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Snow is expected this weekend in Utah, with possible powder in the valleys and around a foot or more of accumulation expected in the mountains.

A cold front will sweep across the state on Saturday afternoon, bringing temperatures as low as the 20s to northern Utah early Monday.

The icy storm is expected to bring “a significant early season accumulation of snow” to the mountains of northern Utah this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. But snow is also likely on the banks — and possible in the valleys.

The incoming weather system will be particularly cold for Utah’s October standards, the weather service said. And it will follow an unusually warm Friday for the season, where temperatures in the 70s are expected in Salt Lake City (10 degrees above normal) and temperatures in the 80s are expected in St. George (5 degrees above normal).

Temperatures will reach around 60 degrees early Saturday in Salt Lake City, but when the afternoon cold front arrives, they will drop into the 40s and then into the mid-30s overnight.

There’s a 90% chance of rain in Salt Lake City on Saturday and a 60% chance of rain — possibly mixed with snow — on Sunday, when the forecast high is just 44.

Snow levels will start at 8,500 feet Saturday afternoon and approach valley bottoms Sunday morning.

In the mountains, accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected, with some areas receiving more than a foot of snow. The higher passes of I-15 and I-70 and the Cove Fort area could see “a heavy rain/snow mix or potentially even snow” Saturday night, the weather service said.

How much snow could Salt Lake City receive?

It’s unclear how much snow the valleys might see; the weather service made no specific predictions. But there is the “potential for snow to mix in the valleys of northern and central Utah” from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening.

There is also “certainly a window for lake effect snow” as colder temperatures sweep over the relatively warm Great Salt Lake, the weather service said.

The “highest probability” of snow accumulation over northern valley bottoms extends from about Bountiful through the Salt Lake Valley to the Tooele Valley.

Early Monday, the first “big freeze” of autumn is likely in the valleys, with temperatures below 28 degrees possible. This could kill or damage crops and freeze external pipes.

As the sun rises, temperatures will warm to nearly 50 degrees Monday morning. There is a slight chance of rain with otherwise mostly sunny skies.

Tuesday will bring partly sunny skies, highs near 50 and a slight chance of rain and snow. Wednesday will see a high of around 56.

In southwestern Utah, a high of about 76 is expected Saturday in St. George, falling to 59 Sunday.

There is a 60% chance of rain Saturday night and 30% chance Sunday. After peaking in the low 60s on Monday, temperatures are expected to rebound into the upper 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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