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Rain, snow forecasted for Utah this week; winter storm watch issued for mountainous areas

By Carter Williams, | Posted - Mar. 23, 2020 at 12:44 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for mountainous areas along the Wasatch Front as a series of moisture patterns are expected to dump more than a foot of snow in the mountains by the end of the workweek.

But before the snow arrives, Utahns should expect rain and possibly even some thunderstorms Monday afternoon from a system moving in from the southwest, according to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman.

"That’s where we’re going to see widespread showers, maybe thunderstorms, throughout the afternoon," he said. "Not just along the Wasatch Front but the southeastern part of the state and the southwestern part of the state, as well."

What to expect later in the week

Monday’s storms are expected to be followed by a series of other systems forecast to bring cooler temperatures and more precipitation throughout the week. While areas like St. George might only see rain Monday and Thursday, precipitation is forecast for most of the week along the Wasatch Front.

"Get set for a stormy week … with plenty of rain coming in," Weyman said. A mixture of rain and snow is forecast for the area Wednesday and Thursday.

"It doesn’t look like a great deal of accumulation down low, at least on our roadways, but it’s going to be colder and wet," he added.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the 40s along the Wasatch Front Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before warming back up into the 50s for the weekend. As for St. George, temperatures are expected to fall into the 50s by midweek before climbing back up into the 60s for the weekend.

Forecasts for other areas of the state can be found on the KSL Weather page.

Winter storm watch

The heaviest snow totals are expected in higher elevation areas of northern Utah. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch Monday morning for the Wasatch Front backcountry and Uinta Mountain areas. The agency forecasts the storm will bring 12 to 20 inches of snow to those areas between Tuesday and Thursday.

"Travel could be very difficult across higher elevation passes through northern Utah," NWS meteorologists warn.

What this means for Utah water supply

Utah’s snowpack totals have remained about average for this point in the snow season, which concludes at the end of the month. Snowpack is critical because when it melts, it provides Utah with most of its water supply.

While that has remained normal, there is a slight precipitation deficit in northern Utah. As of Monday morning, Salt Lake City has received 6.78 inches of precipitation since the 2020 water year began on Oct. 1, 2019. That’s 1.31 inches below the average for this point in the water year, according to National Weather Service data.

These storms will likely close some of that precipitation gap and also pad a bit to Utah’s snowpack total for the traditional spring runoff period.

Carter Williams

KSL Weather Forecast