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Wintry weekend spurs power outages, car crashes, runs on snowblowers

Published November 11, 2012 12:47 am

Weather • Utahns cope with crashes, outages — and a run on snowblowers.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the season's first snows continued to pound much of the state Saturday, Utahns in different places greeted the second round wintry weather in different ways.

Nearly 10,000 did so with no power when electricity went out for hours in parts of Davis and Salt Lake counties. Maria O'Mara of Rocky Mountain Power warned Utahns to call 911 and the power company if they came across any downed lines.

Thousands of others spent Saturday morning slipping and sliding on slushy roads. Although there were "lots of crashes" — from a three-car collision on Interstate 15 near 11400 South to a west-side rollover on I-215 near 3500 South — Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lawrence Hopper said none had serious injuries.

"People are slowing down," he said, "and the slower the speed the lesser the injury."

In all, UHP reported two crashes in Weber County, 14 in Davis County, 51 crashes in Salt Lake County and 17 in Utah County. Seven injuries were reported in Salt Lake County and one injury occurred in Utah County, according to the highway patrol.

Troopers are reminding interstate drivers that in case of a fender bender, the safest move is to drive to the nearest exit and get off the freeway whenever possible.

Many Utahns preferred to hunker down in movie theaters, watching James Bond woo women and kill bad guys in warmer climates. And then there were the die-hard football fans who planned to watch Brigham Young University's Cougars take on Idaho at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday night.

Here is how a few Utahns welcomed the season's first wintry weekend:

With more than 20 inches of snow falling at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort this weekend, the scheduled Nov. 17 opening might be pushed forward, said Emily Moench, communications manager of the resort.

A decision will likely be made once the storm moves on, perhaps on Monday, she said. During the past several years, resort officials had been happy to open the ski season earlier than the scheduled start date because of early storms.

The dumping of natural snow comes just as the resort has doubled its snow-making capability over the past year, according to Moench.

Snowbird spent more than $1 million on enhancements during the off-season for the upcoming winter, including the purchase of new pumps.

Snow blows — especially when you need your snowblower attended to all of a sudden.

Kyson Crowell, of Crowell's Flying Wrench in Murray, associates the arrival of heavy snowfall with the arrival of heavy calls to his mobile-engine repair business.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, Crowell had received about three times as many calls for his services than he did three Saturdays ago.

While he isn't as busy now as he is in the spring and summer months when lawn mowers need repairs, Crowell still spends more than 10 hours a day — and 60 to 80 hours a week — fixing snowblowers.

He's not the only one.

A Midvale receptionist at Pehrson's Power Equipment said her staff was so "swamped" with calls for sales and repairs that nobody had the time to talk to a reporter about increased demand — and that was only after the reporter had to listen to two recorded messages from former quarterback Brett Favre extol the virtues of Snapper lawn mowers and snowblowers.

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At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, there was line out the door for people waiting to order at Sugar House's Soup Kitchen restaurant.

Employee Lisette LeGendre said snow triggers the hunger for the cafe's specialty. "Everyone wants soup," she said. "It's comfort food."

While the eatery offers soups — including split pea with ham, chicken noodle, vegetable beef and sandwiches ranging from the California Sandwich (fried chicken breast, smoked ham, swiss cheese) to the French Dip — the most popular pairing this time of year, Lisette said, is tomato soup and grilled-cheese sandwich.

All winter long, once the resorts open, skiers fresh from morning runs arrive at the Soup Kitchen for that classic combo, Lisette said.

Kevin Rogers, operations manager of downtown Salt Lake City's Canyon Sports, said there are two types of winter-sports enthusiasts: those who wait in line when the store opens Sept. 15 after the shop takes the summer off and those who wait until snow falls to get into gear.

This weekend, Canyon Sports and other equipment shops are tending to the second kind.

With the snowstorm, the shop has seen demand spike, especially because last year's snowfall levels were well below normal, Rogers said. "There's a lot of pent-up demand."

The University of Utah's annual Battle of the Bands began about 15 minutes late Friday night but that was not the only hiccup in the Associated Students of the University of Utah-sponsored event held at Fort Douglas' Post Theater.

One of the judges was delayed because it took him an hour to get from Sandy to Fort Douglas. The ASUU's golf cart got stuck in the snow. And although all 280 tickets for the show had been sold before the event, only 160 people made it to the battle, said Allie Vangeison, ASUU's assistant manager of concerts.

But for the 160 students and other community members who made it, they were treated to six talented bands facing off: Mess of Me, Hunted Wicked Nothing,Jon Burgoyne, Chasing Chance, Harlem Shuffle and Forever is for Now.

The winner? Harlem Shuffle, with Chasing Chance finishing second.

Obviously, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays rock 'n' roll.

Unlike Presidents Day, which occurs on a different date in February each year, anniversary dates of some things can't be changed, said Tim Cretsinger, co-owner of the Cedar City independent record store Groovacious Records.

That's why Groovacious went ahead with its 20th anniversary party Friday night at the store despite weather that Cretsinger described as "cold," "windy" and "grim."

"[The weather] probably kept people away," Cretsinger said of the party, which commemorated the opening of Groovacious on Nov. 9, 1992.

Although not as many people showed up as he expected, Cretsinger was still happy.

On Friday, everything in the store was discounted by 20 percent, and customers braved the weather to take advantage.

Cretsinger still tabulates each sale the old-fashioned way, on a single line on a yellow legal pad next to the cash register. On a typical day, he said, the number of album sales takes up three-quarters of a page. On day's end Friday, more than four pages of sales were written down, with many customers spending long hours in the shop.

It's no coincidence that the store's heating system was working.

The storm was expected to exit Utah by Sunday afternoon, with partly sunny and warmer temperatures to follow.

The weather service forecast a high of 32 degrees in Salt Lake City for Sunday, warming to 39 degrees Monday. Ogden was expected to have highs of 33 on Sunday and 37 on Monday.

Other temperature predictions for Sunday and Monday: 33 and 37 in Logan; 35 and 40 in Wendover; 33 and 37 in Provo; 32 and 37 in Duchesne; 40 and 45 in Moab; 50 and 57 in St. George.

— Kimball Bennion contributed to this report.

dburger@sltrib.com

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Snowfall totals for 24 hours ending Saturday evening

• Alpine - 7 inches

• Alta - 19 inches

• American Fork - 5 inches

• Cedar City - 2.2 inches

• Centerville - 12.1 inches

• Heber City - 3 inches

• Layton - 7.8 inches

• Logan - 4.6 inches

• Manti - 2 inches

• Ogden - 8 inches

• Pleasant Grove - 3 inches

• Provo - 5 inches

• Salt Lake City -3 inches

• Sandy - 9.5 inches

• Snowbird - 25 inches

• Spanish Fork - 9 inches

• Tooele - 11 inches

Source: National Weather Service