Storm causes high number of closed schools, 404 traffic accidents

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SALT LAKE CITY — A winter storm that began Thursday afternoon closed dozens of schools along the Wasatch Front Friday morning and made a mess of the morning commute.

Closures due to snow include all schools in the Davis School District. No classes were held at the Bolton Elementary school. It was only the second snow cancellation in 13 years for the Davis school district.

The snow day left many students pretty excited.

"We got word that it was canceled," said student, Seth Anderson. "That's pretty rare in Utah, but we're excited."

Weber State University closed all of its campuses. Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College canceled day classes. Westminster canceled the day classes, and as the storm worsened, their night classes and events as well.

Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College and Davis Applied Technology College both are closed, and Judge Memorial was set to start at 9:20 a.m.

Dozens more schools were also closed. Click here for the complete list.

Davis County says it is a snow day for government employees, except emergency personnel.

Messy commute

As the winter storm continues to blanket northern Utah, the road conditions have worsened resulting in 343 traffic accidents from Box Elder to Utah county. Most of the traffic accidents were fairly minor, mostly including vehicles sliding off the road.

Salt Lake County had the most accidents reported with a total 108 property damage incidents and 128 slide offs. There were seven injuries reported in the county.

Commuters are urged to stay off the roads if possible and to leave early and take their time driving to their destinations. Slick roads are slowing the commute, with the worst conditions possibly on eastbound I-80 through Parleys Canyon, the east side belt route in Salt Lake County, and from Layton to downtown Salt Lake. Chains are required for semis traveling through Parleys Canyon.

Chains or 4-wheel drive are also required through Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. I-84, which was closed at the Idaho border, has now reopened.

At least 75 accidents were reported between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday. They included a Greyhound bus that crashed on Highway 40 near Strawberry Reservoir, in Wasatch County, at about 8:30 p.m. The Greyhound Bus Depot in Salt Lake sent another bus to pick up the passengers. No word on any injuries.

Cities with most snowfall:
Approximate totals in inches
  • Mueller Park: 30''
  • East Millcreek: 24''
  • Woods Cross: 21''
  • Bountiful Bench: 21''
  • North Salt Lake:19''
  • Clearfield:18''
  • Snowbird:15''

Get traffic updates every 10 minutes on the nines on KSL Newsradio, plus check the home page for commute times.

Unusual storm

The storm began Thursday afternoon and dumped snow along parts of northern Utah through the night. Highly impacted areas include Davis County, Salt Lake County, and parts of Utah County. Residents reported 11 inches of snow in Payson, 17 inches in Salem, and close to 2 feet on the benches of Sandy. Yet a viewer in Pleasant Grove reported barely any snow from this storm.

KSL Meteorologist Grant Weyman called this storm unusual because Thursday it delivered as much snow to the valleys as it did to the Cottonwood canyons. Snowbird reported only 6 inches of new snow. Weyman said it's due to the wind, which is expected to change direction Friday and deliver more snow to the canyons.

Get the complete forecast here.

Avoiding injuries while shoveling

It's going to take more than salt to clear the snow from sidewalks and driveways after the latest storm.

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Get the latest information and weather updates at the KSL Weather Center.

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While many shake the dust off their shovels and get to work, the weight of the snow can quickly add up and increase the chance of injury.

Aaron Swalberg, a physical therapist at TOSH in Murray, Utah, warns against shoveling too much at once.

"Planning ahead prior to the activity is important," Swalberg said. "Rather than pushing a huge portion down the driveway, take bits and pieces of it."

People are also more prone to hypothermia and frost bite, especially if they are shoveling for extended periods of time. But Swalberg said the rush to get it done only adds to bad mechanics and possible injuries.

"Cold temperatures make you want to do things really fast, get it done so you can go back in," he said. "You tend to bite off more than you can chew."

Swalberg recommends that people push snow rather than throw it, and if they do throw it, to lift the snow with their legs instead bending and lifting from the waist.

Contributing: Randall Jeppesen, Mike Anderson, Mary Richards

Video Contributing: Ashley Kewish, Jennifer Stagg, Andrew Adams


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