Utah, Nov. 25, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Winter weather is affecting travel across the state, with some parts of northern Utah already seeing snowfall Monday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the western two-thirds of Utah and southwest Wyoming.
The Utah Department of Transportation tweeted early Monday morning that both directions of U.S Highway 89/91 through Sardine Canyon were closed due to heavy snow and slide-offs. At 8 a.m., a follow-up tweet said the eastbound lanes are open but chains or 4-wheel drive are required for all vehicles; westbound lanes remain closed.
Two powerful storms are expected to come through Utah and southwest Wyoming during the week, including Thanksgiving Day.
The NWS advises anyone who is planning to travel during the week to keep in mind that the two storms forecast for the area may have a significant impact on road conditions.
Monday through Saturday
The NWS says a fast-moving but potent storm system is expected to bring significant snow accumulations to northern Utah, mainly along the Wasatch Mountains and east benches.
“Lake enhancement could result in locally higher snowfall totals in the Salt Lake and Tooele Valleys,” according to the posted outlook. “Travel impacts are expected Monday and Tuesday. Gusty northwest winds are anticipated across the West Desert and Castle Country.”
From Wednesday through Friday, the region will experience a large, slow-moving storm system that may produce accumulating snow as far south as St. George.
Utah Highway Patrol tweeted Sunday night: “Snow is in the forecast. If you are heading out, please: Buckle up. Slow down. Increase your following distance. Give yourself extra time. And DON’T DRIVE IMPAIRED.”
UDOT is also advising Wasatch Front drivers to plan ahead for holiday traffic Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Engineers expect heavy delays of up to 30 minutes on I-15 during the evening commute this Wednesday, and 15-minute delays on Sunday, said a news release.
“Holiday traffic is expected to be heaviest on I-15 Wednesday between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., so leave early in the day or late in the evening to help reduce delays,” the news release said. “The weather on Wednesday is expected to include high storm activity, which could impact these estimates. On Sunday after Thanksgiving, delays will be heaviest from 3 to 7 p.m.”
To be prepared for traveling in winter weather, UDOT reminds drivers to:
- Check your tires for proper tread
- Make sure your battery has sufficient charge and cranking power
- Test your lights— headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals
- Pack a winter emergency kit with blankets, jumper cables, food and water, and a cell phone charger
- Get a brush/scraper and keep your windows clean
Across the state, most UDOT projects will suspend construction and open all lanes to traffic to help reduce delays during the Thanksgiving holiday; Wednesday through Sunday. However, existing lane restrictions or traffic shifts will remain in place where needed to protect the work zone and ensure safety.
Drivers should use caution and plan for construction on I-15 in several areas statewide: from I-84 in Riverdale to Layton Parkway, in Murray at the I-215 interchange, and in Lehi from S.R. 92 to Main Street.
In addition, the Arizona Department of Transportation has reduced I-15 to one lane in each direction in the Virgin River gorge south of St. George for bridge maintenance.
Gephardt Daily will have more information on the winter weather throughout the week.