Light but steady snowfall and icy road surfaces combined to trigger at least two dramatic accidents that slowed Thursday morning’s commute.
By afternoon, the sun was breaking through the clouds along the Wasatch Front, but not before the mild storm system had coated the valleys with 2-3 inches of new snow. Another 5-6 inches was reported along the benches and in the mountains east of Salt Lake City.
Weather was blamed for at least two early morning crashes. A one-vehicle minor injury accident involving a pickup truck closed the 3200 West on-ramp to State Route 201 for about two hours. On snowy Interstate 80 in northeastern Utah, a non-injury crash involving two semi rigs and a car close down westbound lanes between Echo and Emory for about 90 minutes.
Also, for several hours the Utah Department of Transportation restricted both Big and Little Cottonwood canyons to vehicles with tire chains or four-wheel drive capability.
On Friday, northern Utah’s chance for snow was about 20 percent with highs in the low-30s, mirroring Thursday’s forecast.
In southern Utah, the forecast was for highs in the low-50s under partly cloudy morning skies and afternoon sunshine on Friday.
The Utah Division of Air Quality had a mixed forecast for the state. While Salt Lake, Davis, Box Elder and Utah counties were graded “Green,” or healthy for air quality on Thursday and Friday. Weber, Duchesne and Uintah counties had “Yellow,” or compromised breathability for Thursday ahead of “Green” predictions for Friday.
The Utah Avalanche Center kept its risk ratings for dangerous snowslides in the mountain backcountry at “moderate” into Friday.
Salt Lake City’s high temperature forecast for both Thursday and Friday was 33 degrees; Ogden looked for 32s; Provo 38 and 37 degrees; Logan 30 and 29; Wendover 34 and 35; Duchesne 31 and 30; Cedar City 35 and 37; St. George 52 and 53; and Moab 46 degrees both days.