High winds to continue in northern Utah, heavy snow lashes the south
High winds continued to buffet northern Utah on Friday, toppling trees and blowing debris through the streets of Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties even as gusts dropped the chill factor into the teens.
Salt Lake City public safety dispatchers fielded several reports of trees or limbs falling on homes, fencing coming down and playground equipment being toppled, but no injuries were noted. In both Weber and Davis counties, winds downed power lines, causing electrical service outages into early Friday morning.
By 9:15 a.m. Friday, all of 7,570 Ogden customers hit by outages late Thursday were back on the grid, Rocky Mountain Power reported. In the Woods Cross and West Bountiful areas, 750 customers in the dark at dawn also were fully restored.
"Other than that, so far we’re doing OK," a Davis dispatcher said. "We haven’t had anything major, so far. Hopefully that will continue."
That question remained to be answered, however. The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning for Friday through noon Saturday for Davis, Weber and northeastern Salt Lake counties. The wind was expected to abate Friday afternoon, only to pick up again in the evening.
Forecasters said steady winds of 35-45 mph, with gusts well above a hurricane-force 70 mph, were expected throughout the period. Of special concern were cross-winds along the Interstate 15, Legacy Highway and U.S. 89 corridors.
The Utah Department of Transportation warned drivers of semi-trailer rigs, recreational and other high-profile vehicles to exercise caution as they traversed those and other northern Utah highways.
Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the warning seemed to have worked.
"We haven’t had any reports of [wind-related] accidents, though semis have been pulling off the side [on freeways] up in the Farmington area this morning until the winds die down," he said.
As Friday morning dawned, the winds made temperatures in the low- to mid-30s feel like 15 degrees as people walking to trains, buses and work burrowed into coats and leaned into the tempest.
While winds lashed the north, southern Utah was under a Winter Storm Warning through 4 a.m. Sunday. Snow, heavy in spots, was forecast to hit the San Rafael Swell and southern mountains particularly hard, with valley locations getting 6-12 inches of snow and higher elevations 20-30 inches.
The Utah Avalanche Center on Friday rated the Logan district’s mountains at "considerable" risk for potentially deadly snow slides, while the Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo and Uintas mountains earned "moderate" grades.
For more forecast information, visit the Tribune’s weather page at http://www.sltrib.com/weather.