Freezing rain, icy roads create issues for drivers in northern Utah Sunday

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jan 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 13:19:02-05

SALT LAKE CITY - It's a somewhat unfamiliar sight in the Salt Lake Valley. With temperatures straddling the freezing mark Sunday morning, rain falling from above turned to ice near surface levels, or within minutes of touching the ground.

Below-freezing temperatures over the past few days have left the ground cool, helping to freeze sitting water. As a result, many people woke Sunday to find a thin layer of sleet on their windshields that was hard to scrape off.

That icy sleet blanketed streets in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, making it difficult to drive. UDOT traffic cameras showed dozens of slide-offs and accidents throughout much of the morning Sunday. There were no reports of major injuries associated with those slide-offs and crashes.

"This is more of a back East storm," said John Gleason, spokesman for Utah Department of Transportation. "We are used to the white fluffy flakes."

By mid-morning, UDOT crews had removed most of the slush and hard, icy rain from the surfaces. However, as temperatures started to go up, existing snow levels melted quickly, causing even more water to hit the roads.

The concern Sunday night is whether temperatures will remain above freezing, causing flood-like conditions for Monday morning's commute, or whether it will stay below freezing, turning all that rain into ice.

Weather forecasts have temperatures at or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the Salt Lake Valley for most of the evening and overnight into Monday morning.

Click here for the latest weather advisories for your area, and stay ahead of the winter weather with Fox 13’s news and weather apps. You can also track the storms with our interactive maps and radar.

You can also get road condition information via UDOT’s commuter link.