SALT LAKE CITY — Enjoy it while you can.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a weather briefing that predicts temperatures 10 to 20 degrees higher than what is typical for this time of year, with the Wasatch Front expected to surpass the 70-degree mark Wednesday.
On Thursday, motorists in high-profile vehicles traveling on east-west routes such as U.S. 6 or I-80 may encounter wind gusts of up to 60 mph, winds that are ushering in a snow storm that will begin Friday and last well into the weekend.
The mountains in the northern end of the state are anticipated to get anywhere from 1 foot to 3 feet of snow, while mountains at the southern end could get up to 2 feet of snow through Sunday. Valley accumulation of snow will also be widespread.
The anticipated blast of winter weather will be welcome for water supply managers throughout the state. A new report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates soil moisture is below average in northern and southeastern Utah and near average in southwestern Utah as of Nov. 1.
Prepared by the Snow Survey Staff, the Utah Water and Climate Report provides a monthly snapshot of precipitation received, reservoir storage levels, stream flow rates and soil moisture levels throughout the state and its multiple basins.
October precipitation, according to the report, was near normal for the Bear and Weber basins — about 100 percent. In contrast, it is below average, in the 60 percent to 85 percent range, in the rest of the state.
The report notes reservoir storage at low levels — 58 percent of capacity compared with 85 percent at last year — across the state. While the stream flow is at average levels in southwestern Utah, it is below to "well below" average for most of the remainder of Utah.
"Given overall poor stream flow and dry soil moisture conditions, the preliminary water supply outlook for water year 2013 is a bit below average conditions," the report said. "Above average snowpacks would be welcome this year to offset the dryer conditions."