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Utah forecast: Vehicular skating rink for Monday commuters

Published December 10, 2013 8:21 am

Weather • Warm air aloft brings fog and worsening smog to much of the state.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Temperatures on Monday broke record lows in southern Utah.

With temperatures descending to -12 degrees Monday morning, Kanab reported an all-time low not just for Dec. 9, but for the entire month of December, the National Weather Service reported. It was the fourth-coldest reported temperature since weather records have been kept, back to 1902, said Christine Kruse, NWS forecaster.

Tuesday will be a few degrees warmer, but much of Utah will remain in a deep freeze as warm air aloft traps colder, and increasingly polluted air to the region.

In issuing a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the western two-thirds of the state through Sunday, the National Weather Service said inversions will mix fog with worsening valley urban smog — and keep overnight temperatures in the single digits and daytime highs well below freezing.

That also means the Tuesday morning's commute will once more be frigid and slick.

On Monday, following a weekend of snowfall and subfreezing temperatures, the region's interstates and highways began the day as vehicular skating rinks.

The Utah Highway Patrol warned that treacherous driving conditions prevailed in valley and mountain locations alike. However, the northern Utah mountain routes, particularly Interstate 80 through Parleys Canyon and Interstate 84 east of Ogden, had troopers especially vigilant.

Interstate 15 southbound from Davis County was so icy that traffic was stop-and-go along a stretch of at least 10 miles during much of the Monday morning peak drive-time.

About 8:30 a.m. a trooper's car was involved in a crash on I-15 near Orem, but no one was injured. UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said the trooper was outside of his car, investigating another crash, when a pickup truck slid into his cruiser.

Otherwise, drivers seemed to take extra care; only a handful of other non-injury crashes and slideoffs were reported.

Still, unusually cold southern Utah — St. George was in single digits again Monday morning — was on the UHP's weather radar, too. Gusty winds throughout Monday were expected to cause trouble, blowing accumulated and new snow into flurries on I-15 along Black Ridge, which runs between St. George and Cedar City.

Highway 18, between St. George and Beryl Junction, and Highway 143 in the vicinity of Brian Head were also on the UHP's watch list.

A frozen fire sprinkler line burst at the Weber State University student union building Monday afternoon, forcing students to evacuate a second-floor lounge after water started coming from the ceiling.

The Wasatch Front looked for a few degrees of warming on Tuesday with temperatures rising to the mid-20s, up from Monday's forecast highs in the upper teens. Overnight lows, however, were to once again dip into the 5-10 degree range.

Southwestern Utah, meantime, could breath a slightly less misty sigh of relief with highs Tuesday expected to climb into the mid- to upper 30s with overnight lows 15-20 degrees — a 10-15 degree swing for the better from the low single-digits over a chilly weekend.

For more extensive forecast information, visit the Tribune's weather page atsltrib.com/weather. No heat, no school •

A malfunctioning furnace forced Ogden's Highland Junior High School to close Monday. The Ogden School District said a heating coil in the furnace serving the school's nearly 900 students at 325 Gramercy Ave. had frozen overnight.