Getting to and from work on Thursday and Friday should be fairly routine, as winter driving goes, but motorists will need to be ready for stormy conditions again on Saturday.
William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the U.S. Weather Bureau's Salt Lake office, said a small weather system will bring light snow flurries to the Wasatch Front Thursday night, but the snowfall will not be heavy enough to seriously affect general travel conditions in the valleys. Some mountain areas could get from 1 to 3 inches of snow, however.A flow from the Pacific Northwest should bring a much stronger storm system into the area Saturday. Alder said there has been a slight change in the expected pattern from that storm, however, and the full impact is hard to predict.
"The air mass has taken a slight dive along the Pacific coast, and it is difficult to tell at this point just how much of that will flow out into Utah before it hits Southern California," Alder said. "It still looks like we will get a few inches of snow in the valleys with about 6 to 12 inches in the mountain areas on New Year's Eve night, possibly spilling into Sunday."
Little and Big Cottonwood canyons generally receive substantial snowfall when the area is hit by northwest air flows.
Although it will remain cold, temperatures should inch upward over the next two days. Alder said highs on Thursday could get into the upper 20s with overnight lows in the teens. By Saturday, the high temperature could be in the low 30's.
A cold air mass over the state generated a few slight snow flurries overnight. Alder said the cold squeezes out what little moisture is in the air resulting in whispy accumulations of ice crystals. "There is no weather system to speak of in the area right now that would cause a snowfall," Alder said. "What we're seeing is just the result of this large cold air mass."
Temperatures remained cold around the state Wednesday night. Cold spot in the state was Loa with a minus 18 reading. Other cold spots included Dugway at minus 17, Randolph at minus 15, Delta at minus 11, Green River and Price at minus 5, and Logan and Cedar City at minus 3. The low at the Salt Lake International Airport was 4 degrees above.