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Wintry weather in store for weekend, forecast shows

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SALT LAKE CITY — Snow and below-freezing temperatures are on tap as a new weather system makes it's way into Utah for the weekend.

The storm was predicted to dive into western Utah Friday night and spread over the state on Saturday, with lake effect into Sunday morning, according to the KSL Weather Page. The National Weather Service predicted 10 to 20 inches of snow for the mountains and 2 to 7 inches in most valleys.

Some areas of Davis County received light snow overnight. It mixed with single-digit temperatures and turned to ice on the roads. Earlier this week, a wave of wintry weather contributed to more than 300 vehicle crashes.

Experts said those who plan to spend time outdoors Saturday should remember most people's bodies have not had time to acclimate to the extreme cold. It's important to warm up muscles before heading outside, as well as bundling up for cold temperatures.

The Humane Society of Utah warned pet owners to bring their cats and dogs inside this weekend, or make sure they have appropriate shelter to keep them dry and warm.

While the weekend storm won't be as big of a storm as the one that pounced Tuesday, this weekend's delivery of snow is part of a bigger weather pattern that's putting a smile on the face of Utah's biggest snow fan: Randy Julander.

"We like where we are right now," said Julander, who is the Utah Snow Survey supervisor for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Power outage
More than 1,200 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Alpine, American Fork, Draper and Highland were without electricity Friday morning as crews worked to repair the problems.

"We're very much encouraged. The one (pattern) that sets up early tends to be predominant," he said.

The service's latest report looking at Utah's water climate and water outlook says the state's water year that began Oct. 1 is 80 percent of average. Reservoir storage remains at just 50 percent, but Julander notes it is early in the accumulation season, with months to go.

Southeastern Utah has taken a good thumping when it comes to precipitation, racking up 130 percent of normal for November totals and measuring at 111 percent of normal for the water accumulation season so far.

"If you start looking up north, however, the snowpacks have not generated as well and are in the 70 to 80 percent range," he said.

Snowpack accumulation in the Bear River, Weber-Ogden and Provo-Jordan basins are all below 70 percent — well below normal — since Oct. 1, so Julander said it would be best if a strong pattern of storms could continue.

Utah has endured back-to-back years of dismal precipitation totals, setting in motion persistent drought that has fueled destructive wildfire seasons, crop losses and impacts to cattle ranchers.

Spring runoff that has peaked early during both of those years led to reductions in irrigation water for farms and homes, as well as sharp declines in reservoir levels that have harmed boating and fishing.

Statewide reservoir storage is 11 percent below where it was at this time last year.

Get the complete forecast from the KSL Weather Center.

Contributing: Haley Smith

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