Snow Just in Time for Christmas in Idaho and Utah

Snow Just in Time for Christmas in Idaho and Utah

Here we go boys and girls, this is what we’ve been dreaming of! Snow is set to arrive along I-15 beginning Friday Night and lasting into Christmas Day. The Weather Service offices in Salt Lake City and Pocatello have thrown a couple of winter alerts our way, so let’s take a look at the situation.

What we’re looking at right now is a couple of different weather systems. One will head into the Pacific Northwest, while the other will track along I-80 in Nevada. This coupled with a southerly flow of moisture will set us up for heavy snow through the weekend. There is still a little variation in the weather models, but they are all pointing to a widespread snow event this weekend. This is what the GFS model is showing for late morning on Christmas Eve:

GFS Precipitation Map for 10 am Saturday. Source: Tropical Tidbits.

Here’s the bad news, though – since we have a southerly flow coming up the I-15 corridor, snow levels will be around 4500 to 5000 feet. This has most of the Salt Lake and Idaho Falls areas with a rain/snow mix, but if you’re up above that area, it will be mostly snow the entire time. Even high-elevation cities like West Yellowstone up in Montana will get up to 30 on Saturday. Here’s your forecasted highs for Saturday:

Forecasted highs Christmas Eve. Map: Google Earth.

Do not fear, though, Santa will have no problem finding snow to land his sleigh on Christmas Eve, as rain is expected to switch to snow in the late evening hours.

Travel will be miserable in some areas, though. Mountain passes above 5000 feet will see snow most of the weekend, and winds will be strong Saturday in some areas, leading to possible blizzard conditions.

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