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Storm's second wave heads for Utah, possibly adding 1-3 feet of mountain snow

UDOT crews work on avalanche mitigation in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday. The canyon was briefly closed Tuesday because of the work. Another wave of snow is expected to arrive in Utah Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

UDOT crews work on avalanche mitigation in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday. The canyon was briefly closed Tuesday because of the work. Another wave of snow is expected to arrive in Utah Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. (Utah Department of Transportation)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Most of Utah's mountain resorts report that they have already received more than 2 feet of snow since another round of storms arrived in Utah to start this week.

And there's more on the way. A second wave of snow is scheduled to arrive Tuesday night, bringing the potential of another 1 to 3 feet of mountain snow, especially in southern Utah by the time it clears out Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

"The highest impacts and snow accumulations are expected across southern Utah, including most valleys," the agency tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "Blowing and drifting snow is likely across southern Utah and western valleys on Thursday."

That said, snow is also in the forecast for central and northern Utah by the time it clears out.

Mountain areas across northern Utah, as well as the Wasatch backcountry, remain under a winter storm warning through Wednesday afternoon. The state's central and southern mountains also remain under a winter storm warning through early Thursday.

More snow to come

The mixture of new snow and strong winds Tuesday prompted the Utah Avalanche Center to raise avalanche risk levels across the Wasatch Mountain range to high, from Utah County to Cache County. Other mountain ranges in the state either remain at considerable or moderate risk, or have no rating.

Utah Department of Transportation crews completed another round of avalanche mitigation work in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which briefly closed the canyon to traffic again Tuesday morning. UDOT has temporarily closed the road multiple times over the past week because of the avalanche threat in the area, and it's possible future temporary mitigation-related closures will be put in place.

While most of the storms have cleared out, KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson explains that a low-pressure system currently in the Pacific Northwest is churning another wave of snow into the state that is expected to arrive in Utah Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The next wave is forecast to slam southern Utah first, building up to other parts of the state as Wednesday continues. While it begins to clear out later in the day across the northern half of Utah, it's forecast to linger a little bit longer in central and southern Utah, possibly into early Thursday.

"We're not out of the woods just yet," Johnson said. "I think (Wednesday) morning's commute, again, could be snowy. And the southwest corner is staying active with this as this storm trudges through Arizona, bringing some snow down there as well."

Communities along the Wasatch Front and north, into Cache Valley, may receive 1 to 4 inches of snow before the storms diminish Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service reports. The Cottonwood canyons and other Wasatch mountain areas could receive another 8 to 16 inches or more of snow, and the Wasatch Back areas may receive 5 to 10 inches of snow.

The agency adds that 2 to 5 inches of snow are currently forecast for the valleys in central Utah, as well as 8 to 16 inches in the central mountains.

But the heaviest snow is expected in southern Utah. The weather service notes that 6 to 12 inches of snow is possible in southern Utah's valleys, as well as up to 16 inches in places like Orderville and Glendale. Even the Lake Powell area may receive 1 to 4 inches of snow.

The southern mountains are in line to receive close to another 2 feet of snow, with up to 3 feet of snow possible in the Pine Valley Mountains and near Brian Head, the weather service adds.

Travel impacts

The National Weather Service advises drivers to use caution while traveling through mountain areas through the end of Wednesday. UDOT also issued another road weather alert, advising that snow will end up on roads across the state beginning Tuesday evening.

While the worst conditions are expected in the mountain and southwest Utah Tuesday night through Wednesday, the agency writes that snow may cause some issues during the Wednesday morning commute along the Wasatch Front, too.

"The Wasatch Front will see light road snow Wednesday morning into the early afternoon," the alert states. "The end of the Wednesday morning commute could be impacted."

Johnson said the rest of the workweek is expected to be dry across Utah, but another storm may arrive in northern Utah over the weekend.

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online, at the KSL Weather Center.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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