Utahns digging out after winter storms

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Team coverageHeavy snowfall along the Wasatch Front stranded passengers and made driving dangerous. It's been tough going for anyone trying to get anywhere today. Many people awoke to a foot of snow they had to dig themselves out of.

On Salt Lake's east bench, residents are digging their way out from about a foot of snow. But Wendell Stoddard wasn't fazed. "It's that time of the year," he said.

Dallin Mastro got stuck in his own driveway and slid around 11400 South. "It's unpredictable. You don't know what people around you are going to do," he said.

Even the Utah Transit Authority couldn't escape this storm. FrontRunner trains coming from Ogden had to stop in Clearfield so tracks could be deiced.

"We have hot-air blowers on all our switches. They're generally sufficient for dealing with ice buildup, but when you get a storm that's this severe, sometimes you run into these problems," explained Gerry Carpenter, acting spokesman for UTA.

UTA also experienced delays due to snow and ice on the platforms that kept train doors from closing, causing passengers to be late.

Holiday travelers going by bus had even less luck; many are still stuck at the Greyhound terminal in Salt Lake. They've been sleeping on cots and eating donated cereal while they wait for roads to be opened to states like Idaho and Washington.

"After I talked to the guy who's been waiting for my same bus for a week, I realized I might be in this station for a week," Greyhound passenger Chad Strampher said.

Salt Lake International Airport reports no cancellations and few delays this afternoon, but some people whose flights were canceled Christmas Eve are just getting flights today.

Roads were scary as well. The winter weather pounded areas throughout the state, forcing road closures, slide-offs and wrecks on icy roads throughout the state. The Utah Highway Patrol reports 71 accidents in Salt Lake County and 22 in Utah County.

In Weber County, an avalanche closed the North Ogden Divide, a two-lane county road climbing the mountain pass between North Ogden and Liberty, in the Ogden valley. The Weber County Roads Department tells us it will stay closed until further notice, and that may be all weekend.

For a list of more weather-related closures CLICK HERE.

For additional information, the state of Utah has a travel information line. Dial 511 and follow the voice commands for the road reports.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com
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E-mail: rjeppesen@ksl.com


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