It’s a one-two punch of storms for the next couple days in northern Utah.
A strong storm blew in on Saturday morning, bringing heavy snow and winds of up to 60 miles per hour, with stronger winds in the Salt Lake and Tooele valleys. There were gusts of 80 mph on Cardiff Peak, which straddles the ridge line between the Cottonwood Canyons.
As predicted by meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, the storm left between 2 and 6 inches of snow across the valleys, and close to 10 inches along the benches and in the Ogden Valley.
The Weber County community of Liberty had the most snow, with 10 inches. South Ogden was a close second with 8.5 inches and 7.5 inches fell in West Haven. At Salt Lake City’s International Airport, 6 inches of snow was recorded. Draper had 5 inches, and 4 inches fell in Sandy.
Utah’s ski resorts were the benefitted most from the storm. Snowbasin’s mid-bowl recorded 20 inches of new snow and Powder Mountain had 12 inches. Snowbird recorded 11 inches of new snow, Alta saw 9 inches and Brighton got 7 inches.
As of 3 p.m.Saturday the Utah Highway Patrol reported 119 accidents along the Wasatch Front, of which seven included injuries. Included in the total is the 16th trooper to be involved in a crash so far this year, an afternoon crash that also left the man who allegedly hit him in critical condition.
UHP reported that a Ford Escape was traveling south on Interstate 15, at 50 to 60 mph, toward a crash site in Riverdale where two troopers were located. The driver, a 79-year-old man from Canada, lost control of the Escape and veered toward the second trooper, who was sitting in his vehicle.
The trooper saw the Escape coming towards him and tried to avoid a collision, but the Escape hit his patrol car and totalled it. The Escape then rolled onto its side, and its driver, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital in critical condition with a head injury. The trooper was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and was later released.
The passenger in the Escape, the man’s wife, was not hurt, according to UHP.
Snow plows worked well into the evening to keep roads clear, but UHP is asking drivers to go slow and take precautions, Hopper said.
Parley’s Canyon, Sardine Canyon and both Cottonwood Canyons were restricted to vehicles with chains and four-wheel drive Saturday night. Little Cottonwood was also expected to close to all traffic at 10:30 p.m. and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Sunday following avalanche control work, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
Snow and ice also delayed flights trying to depart from Salt Lake City International Airport, said spokeswoman Barbara Gann, though no numbers for how many were readily available.
The storm will taper off Sunday morning, but the reprieve will be a short one. The weather service expects a second, weaker system to hit Utah Monday evening and continue through Tuesday, adding 1 to 3 more inches of snow to the previous totals.
Southern Utah escapes with a only a slight chance of rain or snow through Sunday morning in higher elevations, and the area can otherwise look forward to mostly clear skies, if still colder temperatures. Cedar City may get some snow from the second storm, but it’s a slim chance, according to the NWS.
All the wind and snow will at least clear out the air. The Utah Division of Air Quality forecasts "green," or healthy air quality, on Sunday and Monday for the entire state.
But beware treks into the backcountry to enjoy the new snow. The Utah Avalanche Center warns that slides are likely across the state. The Salt Lake, Provo, Ogden and Moab-area mountains have a moderate chance for avalanches, while the Skyline and Logan-area mountains have a considerable chance.
Worst of all are the Uintas, which have a high chance for slides — natural and human-triggered slides four feet deep are likely on all steep wind-drifted slopes, according to an advisory from the U.S. Forest Service. Anyone without avalanche training should avoid being on or beneath steep mountain terrain, the Forest Service warned.
The high temperature forecast in Salt Lake City for Sunday is 33 degrees, and a slightly higher 35 on Monday; Ogden looked for 30 and 32 degrees, respectively; Provo 34 and 36; Logan 29 and 30; Wendover 34 and 35; Duchesne 30 and 29; Cedar City 31 and 42; St. George 52 and 55; and Moab 39 and 37 degrees.