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When will it snow?

The Wasatch Front should see some snow Wednesday and Thursday, but the long-range winter forecast includes drought and uncertainty

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Corey Sautebin and Rachel Lovato take a walk at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City as snow moves into the Wasatch Front on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Corey Sautebin and Rachel Lovato take a walk at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City as snow moves into the Wasatch Front on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah’s Wasatch Front is expected to get a dusting of snow in the valley on Wednesday and maybe Thursday while snow accumulates in the mountains. Meanwhile, Southern Utah is apt to get some rain.

But predictions are that winter in Utah will be warmer than usual.

Unless it’s colder.

The annual weather summary from the 2023 Old Farmer’s Almanac says the entire Intermountain region — which includes Utah, Idaho and parts of surrounding states — can expect a winter that’s “warmer than normal, with the coldest periods in mid-November and early February. Precipitation will be above normal, with above-average snowfall in the far north and far south. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, late December, early to mid-January, and early February.”

For most of the western half of the country, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “wet and mild” winter. It describes that as “one with lots of (mostly rain) and temperatures that trend upward by as much as several degrees above normal.”

Nationally, the weather prediction is for a very varied snow year. Appalachian states will be colder, with near-normal rain and above-normal snow, it says. The East Coast will be cooler, with more rain and snow than usual. The Pacific Northwest and the desert Southwest will both have less snow than usual, according to the predictions.

Describing the coming weather pattern for most of the Midwest and along the East Coast, the words used are “shivery and snowy.” The almanac says that the eastern half of the country “should brace for potentially record-breaking cold to define the season.” That prediction includes the Deep South and Texas, it adds.

But predicting is not an exact science and there are some variations, depending on who’s doing the prognosticating.

According to winter predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, La Niña is coming back — and she’s bringing warmer-than-normal temperatures to the Southwest, the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard. Next month and continuing through February, the forecast says conditions will be drier than usual across the South, but wetter than you normally see in parts of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.

The precipitation map produced by the center shows that the northern third of the country is likely to see more precipitation than usual, while the southern third will likely have less precipitation. The chunk in the middle — which includes most of Utah, Nevada, northern California, Colorado and on eastward across the country — has “equal chances” of more or less precipitation.

So pull back the curtain and look outside.

Drought is predicted to continue or form in a huge swath of the country — it’s already hitting 59% of the United States — though the eastern part of the country looks much more healthy when it comes to water. The south-central and southeastern U.S. will likely experience drought conditions, the center says, while in the Northwest things should get a little better. Nevada, nearly all of Utah and parts of California are likely to continue to see extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought outlook map, which covers predictions through mid-January.

The drought is expected to improve or end in parts of Oregon and Idaho.

The agency says the outlook is updated every month and covers a three-month period.