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As latest storm provides Utah with lots of snow, how to track which roads have been plowed

As latest storm provides Utah with lots of snow, how to track which roads have been plowed

(Carter Williams, KSL.com)



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SALT LAKE CITY — A snowstorm bearing down on the state Monday has led to many closures and crashes. It has also provided Utah with another dose of powder in the mountains, which helps an already healthy state snowpack.

Here’s how much snow this storm has produced and how to travel in it safely.

Snow totals

Monday’s storm delivered the amount of snow that it was forecasted to, according to the National Weather Service. Nearly all areas of the Wasatch Front and northern Utah had reported several inches of fresh snow by 5 p.m. Some areas even experienced more than a foot of snow by as early as 9 a.m, the agency reported.

Here are some of the latest snow totals:

  • Bountiful: 12 inches
  • Centerville: 15 inches
  • Cedar City: 7.5 inches
  • Cottonwood Heights: 18.2 inches
  • Elk Ridge: 10.5 inches
  • Fruit Heights: 9.5 inches
  • Lehi: 5.5 inches
  • Logan: 9.5 inches
  • Murray: 12.5 inches
  • Salt Lake International Airport: 8.6 inches
  • Sandy: 17 inches
  • Taylorsville: 12 inches
  • West Jordan: 8 inches
  • West Valley City: 12 inches
  • Woods Cross: 10 inches

The weather service previously reported Smithfield recorded 18 inches, but say that measurement may have been from snowdrift and not actual snowfall. More snowfall totals can be found at weather.gov/slc.

Snowpack Update

Utah’s snowpacks were already healthy before Monday’s storm rolled in. As of 4 p.m., the Natural Resources Conservation Service reported that all but the Beaver River region (93%) had snowpacks above the average for Feb. 3. The Wasatch regions were ranging between 105% and 112%.

Those numbers aren’t much of a change from Sunday. Monday’s storm is forecast to bring as much as 2 feet of snow in some mountainous areas, which might boost the percentage a bit.

Up-to-the-date snowpack totals can be found here.

How to find which roads have been plowed

On Sunday, authorities warned that it might be better for Utahns to avoid roads Monday. However, for those who need to commute somewhere in the state, there are ways to at least know what roads have been plowed.

The Utah Department of Transportation, which has about 500 plows in its statewide fleet, lists online how it prioritizes roadways in the state. For example, “Priority 1 routes” are main thoroughfares like freeways and primary routes to hospitals. The agency states that its top concern is that those plows are “maintaining at least one open lane in each direction” for those routes.

The lowest priority is seasonal roads that typically close in fall and reopen in the spring.

UDOT’s traffic app also allows anyone using Utah’s roads to see how many plows are out on the road and the areas they’ve plowed in the previous 30 minutes, said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

“It gives you all the latest information and up-to-the-minute information on construction projects, weather, crashes and, of course, the areas the plows have been through,” he said.

UDOT’s fleet covers more than 24,000 miles of roadway, but not all of Utah. Some cities also have ways to track plowed roads during snowstorms. Salt Lake City’s website, as an example, allows people to track where snowplows are and where they have been in the past 15 minutes.

It’s these types of apps and also keeping tabs on weather forecasts that Gleason advises motorists to use before heading out on the roads at all times, but especially during inclement weather.

“On a day like (Monday), where there is so much active weather happening, you want to make sure you make the necessary plans — that you plan ahead and understand that if you have to be out on the roads, that you taking all of the precautions,” he said. “You’re slowing down, you’re making sure your vehicle is equipped to be driving in for those conditions and you understand the conditions you’re going to be driving in. Part of that is just looking at the (forecasts) or apps like the UDOT traffic app.”

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