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Southern Utah hit by winter thunderstorms as snow blankets Wasatch Mountains

The Preza family dog, Chase, examines their snowman at 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

The Preza family dog, Chase, examines their snowman at 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday's winter storm dropped more than a foot of snow in several places in the Wasatch Mountains, and brought uncommon winter thunderstorms to parts of southeastern Utah.

Snow made for slick roads in northern Utah, and state troopers said three separate crashes closed southbound U.S. 89 near Farmington Wednesday afternoon.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cam Roden said the three crashes involved six to eight vehicles, which blocked southbound traffic. The southbound lanes were still closed as of 2:30 p.m., while the Utah Department of Transportation worked to plow and salt the area, but Roden said the lanes would be opened shortly.

A woman was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening, Roden said, but more information about the crash or her condition was not immediately available.

The storm, one of two winter weather systems to arrive this week, is expected to slow down Wednesday afternoon, but several avalanche warnings remain in effect due to large snow accumulations overnight.

The Utah Avalanche Center warned of high avalanche danger at all elevations above 9,500 feet, as well as slopes facing northwest through north and southeast at elevations between 8,000 and 9,500 feet. The Bear River Range in northeastern Utah is currently under a warning for high avalanche danger at all elevations through 6 a.m. Thursday.

The Utah Department of Transportation reopened state Route 210 in Little Cottonwood Canyon early Wednesday, after it was closed Tuesday night for avalanche mitigation efforts.

Three separate crashes blocked several lanes of U.S. 89 near Farmington on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022.
Three separate crashes blocked several lanes of U.S. 89 near Farmington on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022. (Photo: K. Jae Barbadillo, KSL.com)

Higher elevations in the Wasatch Mountains recorded more than a foot of snow overnight. Brighton Crest led the way with 20 inches as of 5 a.m. Wednesday, followed by Canyons Village at Park City which had 17 inches of new snow. Powder Mountain and Logan Mountain each had more than a foot, with 15.5 inches and 14 inches, respectively.

Snowbird, Solitude and Park City resorts each recorded around a foot of newly accumulated snow.

The Salt Lake valley and the northern Wasatch Front received between 1 and 3 inches of snow in some places, but temperatures in the mid-30s led to more rain than snow in most valley cities.

Air quality is considered good in Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Davis, Iron, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, Washington and Weber counties through Friday, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Strong winds blasted the Wasatch Mountains Tuesday, with gusts of up to 149 mph recorded at Ogden peak Tuesday afternoon.

While higher elevations in southern Utah received several inches of snow, lower elevations — mostly east of I-15 — saw thunder and lightning overnight and into Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service said there are still chances for lightning Wednesday. Cedar City saw thunder and ice pellets about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said lightning, heavy snow and rain were still present in southern Utah at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.

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