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Snow storm causing crashes across Wasatch Front

Posted at 7:48 PM, Feb 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 14:24:15-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — A strong winter storm is causing a number of hazards around the state Monday.

Crews from the Utah Department of Transportation spent hours preparing for the storm’s arrival.

“Our crews are going to be out there making sure the roads are as clear as can possibly be,” said John Gleason, a spokesperson for UDOT. “It's going to be pretty heavy snow.”

At its Parley’s Canyon maintenance site Sunday, UDOT workers made last-minute adjustments to snow plows.

“It really is an ‘all hands on deck’ type of storm,” Gleason said.

UDOT will have hundreds of plows working to clear Utah’s roads once snow starts to fall.

“Our crews can keep up with about an inch of snow per hour,” Gleason said. “Much more than that, and you really have to keep circling around, going over the same ground.”

While UDOT does its best to get snow off the road, drivers are asked to be prepared for wintery driving conditions and should adjust accordingly.

“Slow down,” Gleason answered when asked how drivers can avoid accidents. “It doesn’t make any sense to go freeway speeds.”

Poor road conditions will not be the only safety issue Utahns face with this storm.

Craig Gordon of the Utah Avalanche Center warns, the mild conditions seen for most of the season are creating an avalanche danger.

“Strong snow on weak snow,” Gordon said. “It’s an upside-down cake and that’s always a bad combination.”

A dumping of fresh powder on a weak snowpack causes instability.

“We are going to overload some of those weak layers and in those zones, the snowpack is just teetering on the edge,” Gordon said.

He advises anyone who wants to enjoy the snow to be aware of their surroundings.

“If you want to bring your sled out for a rip, I mean big open meadows with no steep slopes above you, that’s going to be the ticket,” Gordon said when asked how people can stay safe.

He believes ski resorts, where avalanche prevention efforts take place, are the safest place to be if you decide to adventure out into this storm.