Utah forecast: One more blow, then the snow will go
Weather alerts • Storm warnings, winter advisories in place for much of Utah.
Published: January 30, 2013 11:44AM
Updated: January 30, 2013 12:55PM
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Al Hartmann| The Salt Lake Tribune Traffic creeps along I-15 northbound approaching the "spaghetti bowl" during another commuter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Another storm greeted northern Utah commuters Wednesday morning, bringing snowfall that was expected to continue off and on into early Thursday.

The steady snowfall caused problems for Salt Lake City International Airport late Wednesday morning. Airport Operations Director Dave Korzep said no flights had been cancelled, but a number of flights were delayed.

“We had our snow-removal crews out all morning and that has led to intermittent runway closures that have slowed things down, along with [the need to] de-ice the wings of planes themselves,” he said.

Normal air traffic had resumed by 10:45 a.m. when the storm paused ahead of an expected evening encore.

Early on Wednesday, motorists seemed to have adjusted better to winter driving challenges. As of early Wednesday afternoon, when the storm eased, troopers had responded to 21 crashes in Salt Lake and Utah counties combined, along with 56 slideoffs — well below the hundreds of crashes reported earlier in the week.

More good news: the National Weather Service predicted that the pulse of wind-blown snowfall would taper off and give way to clearer skies and slightly warmer temperatures by mid-day Thursday — a forecast expected to continue into the weekend.

So, that was something to look forward to as you puttered along at a crawl on the region’s ice-clogged roads Wednesday. Until then, however, forecasters looked for northern mountain snowfall of 1-2 feet, and in places even 3 feet, during a Winter Storm Warning period extending through 4 a.m. Thursday.

From Logan running south through Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and Nephi, Wednesday’s storm was to bring 6-12 inches of new snow to the mountain valleys and 2-5 inches to lower elevations. The NWS also had a Winter Weather Advisory in place through 4 a.m. Thursday for the western Uintas and northwestern Utah’s desert, with snow totals of 2-5 inches expected.

As of late Wednesday morning, the 24-hour storm totals at area ski resorts ranged from inches to feet of new snow. Among the deepest measurements were 28 inches at Eagle Point, 18 at Snowbird, 17 at Alta, 13 at Wolf Creek and 11 at Snowbasin.

Avalanche danger, with the heavy snowfall expected and ridge top winds of 40-60 mph, was rated “high” for the mountain slopes and backcountry near Logan on Wednesday. The risk was rated at “considerable” for the rest of the state’s mountains, and the danger for potentially deadly snowslides was to remain elevated on Thursday as well, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

That status was expected to remain elevated on Thursday as well, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

All that atmospheric stirring did scour pollution from the urban valleys, though. The Utah Division of Air Quality awarded its “Green,” or healthy breathability grades for all regions of the state Wednesday and Thursday.

Salt Lake City’s forecast for a high of 32 degrees Wednesday was to be followed by a 35 on Thursday; Ogden expected 31 and 34 degrees, respectively; Provo 32 and 37; Logan 29 and 32; Wendover 35 and 33; Duchesne 28 and 30; Cedar City 37 and 42; St. George 52 and 57; and Moab 35 and 38 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com