The all-too-brief period of "balmy" weather that followed a bitterly cold Christmas week ended Friday when the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning and snow advisories for the state - just in time for New Year's weekend.
And as the storm passes, more frigid weather - with the deep-freeze conditions that have made this "the December to remember" - is expected.A cold front wrapped the northern part of the state Friday afternoon, dropping about one-half inch of snow on Salt Lake County and north to the Idaho border, the weather service reported.
A winter storm warning was issued for the northern mountains, and snow advisories were posted for the northern valleys and southern portion of the state.
A second band of snow following the front was expected to arrive by early today. At least 2 inches of snow were expected to accumulate in the valleys and 6-12 inches in the mountains. Winds and snowdrifts, especially in the higher elevations, accompanied the snowfall.
The low Friday was zero, and the high 25 degrees. The low temperatures will range from 10 degrees to the mid-teens, said Bill Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.
But by Sunday, the low temperature is expected to drop to minus 5, and the cold temperatures will persist at least through New Year's Day, Alder said.
The thought of a new blast of arctic weather didn't exactly cheer some area plumbers, who have been working cruel hours for the past week thawing frozen plumbing and repairing broken pipes.
The emergency calls had just begun slowing down with Thursday's warmer weather, said Terral H. Ernsten of Ernsten Plumbing.
But as the pipes thawed, the water frozen in the broken lines started flowing. The calls started again, Ernsten said. And with the new storm blowing in, he said he expects more of the same - non-stop calls and 20-hour days for him and his employees.
"We're already booked up for Saturday," he said.
Annette Dewaal of Dewaal Plumbing said that although they plan to help everyone who calls, "we're hoping it doesn't get too cold, because the guys who are working 20-hour days for us are getting tired."