High Impact Snow Event for Salt Lake City on Monday

Friday’s storm brought significant snowfall totals to the Wasatch Mountains along with excellent skiing conditions, but impacts across Salt Lake City and the I-15 corridor were much less due to rain falling for much of the event.  However, another potent storm system is approaching from the west with heavier snow amounts expected for Salt Lake City.

The image below is the latest model analyzed upper level pattern from the GFS Model for 5pm Sunday, showing this fast-moving system pushing into Northern California (image source: tropicaltidbits.com).


Temperatures are mild again today with temperatures well into the 40s across the urban corridor, but this storm will be moving across Utah from the northwest with a cold front arriving at the leading edge.  Precipitation will be filling in across Northern Utah early Monday morning.  The next image shows the HRRR-model projected precipitation type around 4am tomorrow (image source: weathermodels.com).  Temperatures should be warm enough for precipitation to start as rain or a rain-snow mix across the lower elevations.



However, thanks to the colder air arriving with the leading edge of this system, we should see a relatively quick change-over to snow across the I-15 corridor as temperatures fall to near freezing.  The next image shows the same model’s projected precipitation type by 7am, which is all-snow across the area (image source: weathermodels.com).



This will be a relatively short-duration but high-intensity system with most of the snow expected to fall from roughly 7am Monday until sunset for Salt Lake City, with perhaps some lingering light snow showers into the evening.  The onset of snowfall by 6-7am along with the potential for 1″/hour snowfall rates will impact the morning commute Monday as this system comes in strong and fast, with slushy pavement accumulations likely for the urban corridor.  

During the middle part of the day Monday, there may be some melt occurring on the roadways across portions of the metro area since temperatures will be near or just below freezing, but if heavy snowfall rates persist then melting may be minimal.  Across the higher elevation benches, pavement impacts will certainly be more significant.

Snowfall amounts across the I-15 corridor from Provo to Salt Lake City to Brigham City will likely be in the 4-8″ range, with higher amounts possible across the higher elevation benches.  The evening commute will be impacted as well, with the potential for rapid icing on roadways (where melt has occurred) as temperatures begin to drop into the 20s by around or shortly after sunset.

For the Wasatch Mountains, snowfall totals for the town of Park City will likely be in the 6-12″ range with 1-2 feet of snow likely for the ski areas.  This will be another high impact event for the mountains with significant travel difficulties expected.  Strong northwest winds will result in areas of blowing and drifting snow as well.

Snowfall should eventually taper off Monday evening for Salt Lake with overnight lows falling to around 20, but snow will linger well into the overnight period for the Wasatch Mountains.  Schools will fortunately be on a break Monday for Martin Luther King Day, but should be prepared for slick roads Tuesday morning.

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