Salt Lake City International Airport reported a -2 early Monday morning, a bone-chilling temperature last seen on Jan. 22, 2008, according to the National Weather Service.
The Carbon County town of Wellington was the state’s official coldest spot early Monday with a -29 degrees, while Southern Utah’s Bryce Canyon and Thistle, at -27 degrees overnight, tied for being second coldest.
Ironically, the cold spell was being blamed for at least two residential fires Sunday, prompting fire authorities to warn Utahns to take extra care in the ways they tried to stay warm.
In Cottonwood Heights, firefighters said a man trying to thaw a frozen faucet ignited a blaze that burned the rear wall of his home before Unified Fire Department crews doused it. Another fire left four residents of a St. George house trailer homeless. Investigators said the residents were using an outdoor cooking device inside the trailer, apparently to keep warm as temperatures went below freezing.
Sub-zero readings were common throughout Utah early Monday and that trend was expected to continue into late this week.
As of 6 a.m. Monday, Moab and Cedar City were shivering at -13, Logan had dipped to -12, Milford -10, Price -7, Ogden -4, Layton -3, and Provo, Wendover and West Jordan all came in at zeroes.
Utah Transit Authority reported some delays on its TRAX light rail trains as the cold weather resulted in some doors on passenger cars freezing shut early Monday morning. Train operators and maintenance workers had to free them to proceed.
Monday’s high temperatures were expected to be only marginally better. Northern Utah looked for highs only in the 10-15 degree range Monday, with Tuesday’s overnight lows at zero to 5 degrees and Tuesday’s highs again in the teens. No snow storms were on the horizon.
Even southern Utahns, who normally escape the worst of winter cold, expected highs Monday in the low-30s after chilly overnight temperatures of 15-20 degrees. Tuesday’s high was forecast to reach a paltry 30-35 degrees.
The Utah Department of Transportation issued an advisory warning motorists across northern Utah, and in all of the state’s mountain passes, to exercise extra care on snow- and ice-covered highways.
Utah Division of Air Quality issued mandatory no-burn advisories for Tuesday for Salt Lake, Davis, Utah and Davis counties, meaning use of wood and coal-burning stoves and fireplaces is prohibited. Residents in Weber, Box Elder, Tooele, Duchesne and Uintah counties are asked not to use coal and wood-burning stoves
The Utah Avalanche Center began Monday with warnings of “considerable” danger for backcountry snowslides in the mountains above Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo. The Logan, Moab, Uintas and Skyline districts began the day with a “moderate” rating.
Salt Lake City was expecting an overnight low early Tuesday of 4 degrees ahead of a high of 18, up a few degrees from Monday’s predicted 13 degrees; Ogden looked for 4, 16 and 12, respectively; Provo 1, 16 and 15; Logan -9, 8 and 4; Wendover -3, 15 and 17; Duchesne -16, 12 and 9; Cedar City -8, 17 and 12; St. George 16, 34 and 33; and Moab -6, 10 and 14 degrees.
Cold Weather Fire Safety Tips •
— Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarm. Check alarms and clean them regularly, and swap out batteries at least twice a year.
— Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
— Keep your furnace inspected, regularly change filters, and be sure all emergency furnace controls and shutoffs are in good working order.
— Check flue pipes and seams for soot or cracks.
— Make sure any chimneys are solid, without loose or cracked bricks. Have chimneys inspected and cleaned annually.
— Keep trash and combustible materials clear of any heating system.
— Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they could come into contact with water.
— Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame. Instead, use hot water or a hand-held hair dryer for thawing.
— Never use an oven or range as a supplemental heating device.
— If you use an electrical space heater, be careful not to overload the circuit, and only use extension cords rated for the proper amp load.
— Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal can give off lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
— If you use a fireplace, be sure it is out when you go to bed; never close the fireplace dampers with hot ashes in the fireplace, as a closed damper may cause the fire to heat up again and force toxic levels of carbon monoxide into the air.
Source: U.S. Fire Administration