Strong wind and rain in the weekend forecast; snow line expected to rise

PARK CITY, Utah — While some will enjoy the warmer temperatures, all will not love the accompanying rain. Many Utah ski resort base areas will see mixed precipitation as the snow line is expected to rise as high as 8,500 feet on Saturday.

The upper elevations of the cottonwoods could see 15 inches of snow but also face extreme winds with gusts of 95 mph. Lower elevations will also see high winds of up to 55 mph. As a result, both Alta Ski Area and Snowbird will close early at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory that could last into the evening on Friday. Earlier in the day, 72 mph was observed on I-80 at SR-201 in western Utah.

A  Winter Storm Warning is also in place until 5 a.m. on Saturday. Visibility is expected to be a problem for those traveling, as well as falling tree branches. Park City is forecasted to receive a little over two inches in liquid equivalent in total.

The current avalanche forecast has a considerable rating for the Salt Lake Area Mountains at all elevations and face orientations. The high winds will lead to unstable slabs and wind-drifted snow. The addition of rain could make the snowpack unconsolidated and prone to break. The UAC’s report calls today’s conditions dangerous. In addition, expect closures for avalanche mitigation in many areas, such as the cottonwoods.

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