SALT LAKE CITY — Much of northern Utah's backcountry is under a "high" avalanche warning Wednesday following back-to-back storms.
Due to heavy snowfall in the mountains and overloaded slopes with unstable snow, the following locations are considered "high" danger areas through 6 a.m. Thursday:
- Salt Lake
The Utah Avalanche Center warns people to avoid traveling in avalanche terrain Wednesday as "human triggered and natural avalanches are likely."
Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed to traffic overnight for avalanche mitigation, with roads reopening at 7 a.m. to a long line of vehicles waiting to head up the canyon.
🚧 #RoadClosureUpdate 🚧 @updsl is escorting the traffic queue up to 7 turns (MP 7) & @UDOTAvy avalanche mitigation continues. ETA for opening is still 8:00am - we will post if that changes.— UDOT Cottonwood Canyons (@UDOTcottonwoods) March 9, 2022
Expect uphill delays once the canyon opens with the current queue of traffic. pic.twitter.com/nfzw2nCBNr
The slow moving winter storm contributed to a messy morning commute and also a mad dash by skiers and snowboarders to get some of this fresh powder.
In Big and Little Cottonwood canyons resorts were reporting more than a foot of snow overnight.
Little Cottonwood Canyon in particular didn’t even open until 7:30 a.m. today due to overnight avalanche control work. But once it was open, it was bumper to bumper traffic heading up to the resorts.
Down in the valleys in particular along I-15, precipitation was mainly rain but roads were still slick and that contributed to multiple crashes and fender bender‘s.
Fortunately UHP Troopers, working closely with UDOT and the national weather service, knew when and where the storm would hit and were able to adjust their staffing accordingly.
"We called in some extra troops out in areas where we knew that we needed more resources," said Sergeant Cameron Roden with Utah Highway Patrol. "So we do have extra troops out to help handle these crashes and hopefully help avoid secondary collisions.”
More of this storm is expected later today which could dump even more snow, followed by much colder temperatures.