A white-knuckle commute for northern, central Utah
Snow, in places heavy, dumped on northern and central Utah early Friday, reducing the morning commute to a crawl as motorists navigated increasingly slippery roadways and some of them less successfully than others.
By 11 a.m., the snowpacked commute had produced more than 150 slideoffs and crashes including one in which a Utah Highway Patrol car was hit by a sliding car at an Orem accident scene but the trooper unhurt on freeways and surface streets in Salt Lake and Utah counties alone.
A crash on Interstate 15 near 3900 South left a 26-year-old Bountiful man in extremely critical condition Friday evening after he lost control of his car and it was struck by a pickup truck.
No cancellations of flights were reported at Salt Lake City International Airport, though airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann did caution that, "Some delays can be expected due to snow removal and deicing' of aircraft. Passengers were advised to check with their airlines first before heading to the airport for current status information.
The Wasatch Front began the day under a Winter Weather Advisory through mid-morning with 2-4 inches of new snow expected in the urban valleys and up to a foot in the mountains. The weekend was to bring a stronger winter storm to the region, with the National Weather Service issuing a Winter Storm Watch beginning late Friday night and extending through Sunday.
Saturday's storm, accompanied by winds of up to 40 mph in the valleys and as high as 70 mph in the mountains, was predicted to add another 3-4 inches of snow at the lower elevations and up to 2 feet to the mountains.
All that new snowfall prompted the Utah Avalanche Center to issue a Backcountry Avalanche Watch going into the weekend for the mountains of northern and central Utah. Preliminary predictions for Saturday included a "high" grade for the Uintas, while the rest of the state including the Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo area slopes was flagged at "considerable" risk for potentially deadly snow slides.
The Utah Division of Air Quality rated most of the state at "Green," or healthy for breathability going into the weekend, though Uintah and Duchesne counties had compromised, or "Yellow" air quality grades.
Salt Lake City looked for a high temperature on Saturday of 35 degrees, up a degree from Friday; Ogden looked for 32s both days; Provo 40 and 38, respectively; Logan 30s; Wendover 36 and 37; Duchesne 31s; Cedar City 37 and 44; St. George 53 and 57; and Moab 41 and 47 degrees.
Expect areas of valley road snow Saturday through Sunday.
Road snow will impact the I-15 corridor between Idaho and Black Ridge (milepost 42). Periods of most consistent road snow are below:
Idaho/Utah state line • 2-10 a.m. Saturday
Brigham City • 3-11 a.m. Saturday
Ogden • 4 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday
Salt Lake City • 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday
Provo • 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m.Saturday
Nephi • 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
The I-70 Junction • 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Cedar City • 1-5 p.m. Saturday
Roads along the Wasatch Front will likely run wet Saturday afternoon.
Routes along the Wasatch Front, particularly south and east of the Great Salt Lake, will see areas of road slush/snow redevelop under snow showers Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
Northern mountain routes (including Parley's Summit on I-80) will see road snow starting after 1 a.m. Friday and last at times through Saturday night. Road snow will be heavy at times late Friday night through noon Saturday
Blowing snow will be of particular concern with the cold front. Widespread blowing and drifting snow will impact the following routes Saturday morning and afternoon:
SR-92 • east of I-15
SR-72 • west of I-15
I-15 • near the Point of the Mountain
SR-30 • in far northwest Utah
I-84 • northwest of Tremonton
US-40 • near Strawberry Reservoir
I-80 • West of Salt Lake City
Source: Utah Department of Transportation