SALT LAKE CITY — Eastern winds have already led to gusts exceeding 60 mph in northern Utah Tuesday morning, and the National Weather Service issued a series of high wind warnings for the region as stronger winds are expected Tuesday evening into Wednesday.
The agency also released a model showing that some mountains in the state could receive more than a foot of snow after the wind events.
More high winds in northern Utah
The National Weather Service originally issued a wind advisory for northern Utah areas that went into effect at midnight Tuesday to noon. That advisory was upgraded to a high wind warning for some of northern Utah shortly before 9 a.m.
NEW: HIGH WIND WARNING now in effect until NOON today for the northern Wasatch Front. Seeing 60+ mph wind gusts along the US-89 corridor between Farmington and South Weber. Travelers use caution! #utwx#utwind— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) April 13, 2021
The agency tweeted Tuesday morning that the strongest gust so far was 72 mph near Farmington. Gusts exceeding 60 mph have also been reported at U.S. Highway 89 near Weber Canyon and at Park Lane in Davis County.
Gusts also reached close to 40 mph at the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City and Utah State University campus in Logan by the time that winds first started picking up in the region.
But meteorologists say the wind Tuesday morning is the first of two wind events expected. The second event, which is expected to produce even stronger winds, prompted the weather service to issue a series of high wind warnings for valley regions west of the Wasatch Mountains from Utah's northern border through Davis County.
A high wind warning was also issued for areas of northeast Utah. All of the warnings issued Tuesday go into effect at 6 p.m. and remain in place into Wednesday.
⚠️Event 1 Wind Advisories continue through this morning.— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) April 13, 2021
⚠️Event 2 High Wind Warnings are now in effect for eastern Box Elder, Davis, Weber, Cache Counties as well as the Bear River Valley and Uinta County Wyoming this evening through Wednesday morning. #utwx#wywxpic.twitter.com/ndcE4iP4aY
"A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or is occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage," the agency wrote in its alerts. "Vehicles, especially high profile vehicles, can be difficult to control at times in high winds. Motorists should take extra caution, especially while crossing bridges, overpasses and unsheltered areas."
The National Weather Service's warning for the northern Wasatch Front covers Davis and Weber counties, including the cities of Bountiful and Ogden. It warns that there will be sustained winds of 30 mph to 40 mph with gusts exceeding 60 mph. The warning is set to expire at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Another alert was issued for eastern Box Elder County, the northern Utah I-15 corridor and Utah's Cache Valley, including Brigham City, Logan, Smithfield and Snowville. It warns of gusts exceeding 65 mph along with 30 mph to 40 mph sustained winds. That alert expires at noon Wednesday.
A third warning was issued for the Bear Lake area and Bear River Valley, including Garden City, Randolph and Woodruff. Much like the other two alerts, it warns of 30 mph and 40 mph sustained winds with gusts exceeding 60 mph.
The weather service's Salt Lake City office also issued a warning for areas in southwest Wyoming, including Evanston and Lyman. Similar conditions are expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
"High winds may move loose debris, damage property and cause power outages," the weather service warned for all areas within warnings. "Travel will be difficult especially for high profile vehicles."
On Tuesday afternoon, the weather service also issued a few wind advisories for areas south of Davis County. Advisories for areas of the Salt Lake Valley and Wasatch Back will go into effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday and remain in effect through 9 a.m. Wednesday. They include Salt Lake City, Sandy and West Jordan, as well as Heber City, Huntsville and Park City.
Sustained winds are expected to be 20 mph to 30 mph in those areas with gusts up to 55 mph.
Rain and snow in northern Utah
The strong winds will be followed by snow in northern Utah. The weather service on Tuesday released a model showing snow accumulation projections between Tuesday morning and 6 p.m. Thursday.
Wasatch Mountains and the West Uintas are forecast to receive anywhere from 6 to 12 inches during that time frame. Some areas within the mountains are projected to receive more than a foot of snow.
Some communities are also forecast to receive snow. For instance, it forecast 4 to 6 inches of snow in Randolph, as well as 3 to 4 inches in Park City. Most Wasatch Front communities are expected to receive rain from the system Wednesday and Thursday.
Red flag warnings for southern Utah
Meanwhile, KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman said heavy winds are also expected Tuesday and Wednesday in southern Utah even if high wind warnings were only issued for northern Utah.
More red flag warnings were issued for the southern Utah areas as a result of warm temperatures, high winds and low relative humidity. Those are considered key conditions for fire growth.
"A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or are imminent," the National Weather Service wrote. "Any fires that develop could spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended."
The weather service issued red flag warnings for the Color County West Desert, Mojave Desert, Henry Mountains and Grand Staircase areas of southern Utah. A fire weather watch was issued for areas of southeast Utah, including Blanding, Bluff, Moab and Monticello.
The warnings go into effect Tuesday afternoon and remain into effect through 9 p.m. Wednesday
Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.