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SALT LAKE CITY — The pattern of moisture that has hit the Western U.S. over the past week will provide Utah one last storm to close out 2021.
The National Weather Service issued several winter storm watches and winter weather advisories for various parts of the state that go into effect Wednesday afternoon and remain in place through Thursday and Friday into early New Year's Day, Saturday. It's estimated that up to another 2 feet of snow could end up in parts of Utah's mountains, while Wasatch Front valleys will also get another dose of snow.
The initial start of the incoming storm will be relatively weak, developing Wednesday afternoon and lingering overnight into Thursday. Another stronger system that's set to move in Thursday afternoon will provide heavier snow accumulations Thursday evening into New Year's Eve, according to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman.
"You have to look at the timing of this storm. ... We're basically looking at three days of stormy weather," he said. "This is all going to kind of slowly build up through time and waves."
The weather service's current winter weather advisories go into effect at 3 p.m. Wednesday and remain in effect through early Saturday morning for Utah's mountain areas and Friday night everywhere else.
Utah's mountain ranges
The agency estimates another 1 to 2 feet of snow will fall in the Wasatch, Western Uinta, central and southern mountains, as well as the Book Cliffs region, over the span of the storm. Places like Alta, Alton, Brian Head, Brighton, Cove Fort, Fish Lake, Joes Valley, Logan Summit, Mantua and the Mirror Lake Highway are included in the alert.
"(The) heaviest snow expected late Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening," the advisory states, for those areas. "Travel could be very difficult at times. Slow down and use caution while traveling."
The advisory issued Wednesday expires at 5 a.m. Saturday.
The weather service office in Grand Junction issued a winter storm watch for Abajo and La Sal mountain areas, including Monticello. It's estimated that up to 2 feet of snow could fall in those areas of eastern Utah, as well
The Wasatch Back is included in the advisory, which notes the potential for 8 to 14 inches of snow in places like Heber City, Park City and Huntsville. The advisory adds that "higher amounts" are possible within the Ogden Valley.
"Winter driving conditions, including snow-packed roads and reduced visibilities, can be expected at times from Wednesday evening through Friday evening," the advisory states. "The hazardous conditions could impact peak commute times, especially the Wednesday and Thursday evening commutes as well as the Friday morning commute."
Another 6 to 12 inches are expected in central Utah commutes like Ephraim, Manti and Mt. Pleasant.
"Winter driving conditions, including snow-packed roads and reduced visibilities, can be expected at times from Wednesday evening through Friday evening," the weather service advisory noted.
Bryce Canyon and south-central Utah
Up to another foot of snow could fall in areas near Bryce Canyon National Park. The advisory for south-central Utah, including Bryce Canyon, Escalante and Kanab, lists the potential of 5 to 12 inches of snow over the next few days.
Winter driving conditions are expected at times between Wednesday and Friday.
Zion National Park
While Springdale may end up with about just an inch of snow, according to the Wednesday forecast, the weather service notes that 4 to 9 inches of snow are expected in areas above 4,500 feet at Zion National Park.
Other parts of Utah
The communities along the Wasatch Front weren't included in the weather service advisory issued Wednesday morning. However, up to an inch of snow could fall from the first wave of the storm Wednesday into Thursday, according to Weyman. He adds that 3 to 6 inches is possible by the end of the storm — and bench areas may end up with a few inches more than that.
⚠❄️🚗Several more rounds of #Winter Weather are on the way Wednesday through Friday. Remember to check or call 511 / UDOT for the latest in travel conditions before you head out the door. (...and the latest weather forecast as well!) #UTwxpic.twitter.com/tRH2y1Xlfq— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) December 28, 2021
The weather service also created a graphic that states most valley floors in northern and central Utah may receive anywhere between 1 and 4 inches, while areas between 5,000 and 7,000 feet may end up with 5 to 9 inches. Valley floors in southern Utah range between a trace of snow to 5 inches, according to the agency. It adds that locations of 5,000 to 7,000 feet may end up with totals between 6 and 16 inches by the end of Friday.
Slick roads are expected at times over the next few days in all of the areas, including those not included in Wednesday's advisory.
A chilly start to 2022
High temperatures throughout the next days will remain in the 30s for most of Utah through Friday, with highs dipping into the 20s in Logan and highs in the 40s in and around St. George and Moab. Lows will remain in the teens and 20s for most of the state during this time, too.
But a wave of cold air is expected after the storms clear out. Highs on New Year's Day, Saturday, will be in the low 20s across the Wasatch Front, with lows dipping into the single digits.
🥶 It'll be a cold start to 2022 - take a look at these apparent temperatures across Southern Utah forecast to ring in the New Year. If you're headed outdoors, dress appropriately and in layers!🧤🧣⛷🏂 #UTwxpic.twitter.com/AmuzU9Jf1B— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) December 29, 2021
Highs are forecast to top out in the teens for places like Logan and Vernal, with lows possibly dropping to below zero. The weather service added in a tweet Wednesday that some areas of the state will have wind chills well below zero degrees to ring in the new year.
"If you're headed outdoors, dress appropriately and in layers," the agency tweeted.
Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.