Utah forecast: Snow and slowdowns greet commuters
Heavy, wet snow slowed the Tuesday morning commute along the Wasatch Front, and winter-like weather put the region into a shiver before afternoon sunshine melted most of the white stuff away.
Wednesday's forecast promised to be milder as more-typical autumn weather returned with partly cloudy skies and warmer temperatures from north to south.
But on Tuesday morning, 6 inches of snow had fallen at the summit of Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon east of Salt Lake City. Commuters then had to deal with road slush as they descended into the lower-elevation foothills and benches.
The Utah Highway Patrol urged commuters to slow down, especially on icy overpasses and bridges on all roads. Little and Big Cottonwood canyons also were seeing slowdowns as pre-dawn snow fell, triggering about a dozen slideoffs and crashes, only two involving minor injuries.
"It was pretty sticky out there for the snow, especially in Parleys Canyon. But it seems things have gone OK," said UHP Sgt. Todd Royce.
By mid-morning, public safety dispatchers had reported 10 crashes in the Salt Lake Valley, none involving serious injuries.
The so-called "Dreaded Lake Effect," a term referring to the tendency of the Great Salt Lake to accentuate precipitation patterns, brought a steady, light snowfall to the Wasatch Front's valleys. The dusting of white did not remain long, though, as sub-freezing early morning temperatures gave way to the 40s later in the day.
Alta Ski Resort reported 10 inches of snow from the storm, but other locations received far less. Snowbird had 5 inches, according to the National Weather Service, while Brighton reported 4 inches and Jeremy Ranch 3.5 inches.
The Salt Lake area benches measured 4 to 5 inches of snowfall by mid-day, Salt Lake City got 3 inches, Bountiful 2 and Ogden 1 inch.
The forecast for Wednesday predicted high temperatures ranging from the upper 40s to low 50s along the Wasatch Front with overnight lows in the mid-30s.
Southern Utahns also saw a cooling trend, but largely avoided with the exception of isolated mountain passes the snow and commuting misery of northern Utah on Tuesday, with high temperatures near 60 degrees. The forecast for Wednesday called for highs in the mid-60s and overnight lows in the 30s under partly cloudy skies.