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SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has some welcome news for Utah residents enduring the effects of the protracted drought this year.
Storms are headed this way early next week that could bring snow and rain in northern Utah's mountains. Later in the week, a more impactful storm could envelop the entire state.
While October saw a generous amount of precipitation improving drought conditions, November was not so kind to Utah.
It was incredibly boring in terms of storms.
Forecasters and water managers have been warily watching the weather, hoping December brings much-needed snow to replenish reservoir levels. The state relies on its water supply — 90% — from snowpack in the mountains.
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Utah in the unlucky class of multiple states across the West, including portions of California, Nevada and Montana, that remain in the grip of a drought amplified by 20 years of extremely dry conditions that have put the West in a chokehold.
But David Church, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said the good news is that these storms will break down the high pressure system that has been lurking over northern Utah.
"We are expecting it to break down late Monday into Tuesday."
Mountains in northern Utah could see 5 to 10 inches of snow and the valleys will get some rain.
👀 Did you hear there are multiple storms next week?— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) December 3, 2021
A pattern change is coming!
Storm 1: mainly northern UT, Mon-Tues. Accumulations expected in the northern mtns
Storm 2: Late Weds - Fri, potentially statewide, right now looks like the stronger system #utwx#wywxpic.twitter.com/o23rxihQKw
The next week should be a wake-up call for Utah residents who have been lulled into complacency over winter conditions after such a dry November.
Church said the colder storm due to hit the state by late next week will deliver high temperatures in the freezing range. That means lows could hit the teens.
"It is time to prepare for winter," he said.
The northern Utah area has experienced temperatures about 10 degrees above average, and while it has been pleasant, it is not doing anything to help the snowpack — which is still abysmally low.
"We have record low snowpack in the mountains," Church said, noting that reservoir conditions are dreadfully in need of additional precipitation.
While it is too early to tell, that colder storm could potentially deliver some water savings to central and southern Utah. Temperatures in the Wasatch Back could dip into single digits.
So get out the parkas, forecasters stressed. And be prepared.
"The change is coming up," Church said.