Dixie cities not equipped for snow removal, icy roads impassable; avoid driving

Kember Childers inspects the damage to her Pontiac Vibe after a slide-out on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2013 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  – After nearly 10 hours of nonstop snow Saturday, St. George and surrounding cities, handicapped by the lack of equipment necessary to address this kind of snow accumulation, are suspending some services and urging people to avoid driving entirely.

Countywide

The Washington County alert system has issued the following alert:

The Washington County public safety departments are recommending you do not drive tonight unless absolutely necessary due to freezing temperatures and extreme wind or conditions. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our community safe.

In St. George

“The city of St. George does not have any snow removal equipment,” Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said, other than one snow plow at the St. George Municipal Airport which is required. “It so rarely snows here that it would not be worth the investment,” he said.

There have been some road closures to avoid further problems in areas where the city has seen multiple slide-offs or accidents. There is no list of closures at this time but, generally speaking, drivers are advised to avoid any roads that have an incline and especially those that are steep. Caution is advised for roads that may appear snow packed as they may have ice or other obstacles concealed underneath what’s visible.

St. George is marshaling its resources mobilizing all of its four-wheel-drive vehicles and fire engines to attend to the most dire needs.

“We’re just leaving the vehicles,” Mortensen said, “we’re assisting vehicles where we can.”

Mortensen said what the city is seeing a lot of is neighbors helping neighbors.

St. George suspended SunTran bus service this evening when the roads became unsafe for the busses to travel. Busses were shut off and parked in areas about the city because they could not make the drive up Red Hills Parkway where they are normally stored, Mortensen said. Service will resume operation when roads are clear and safe for travel.

The airport is closed and it is uncertain when it will reopen. The City of St. George is asking people affected by the airport closure to check with Delta and Skywest for updates on schedules and flights. The city is working with airport maintenance to de-ice and clear the runway for safe use, Mortensen said, but he would not expect morning flights to be operating. The one plow St. George does have is for the airport, to meet airport operation requirements; it can’t keep up with the demand today’s snowfall has brought.

In Washington

Washington City does have salters on the back of trucks to address slick spots, Washington City Police spokesman Ed Kantor said. The streets department is using its road graders on the bad areas.

“It would urge people not to drive in these conditions unless absolutely necessary,” Kantor said, “and if they have to they should take extra precaution.”

Temperatures during the 7 p.m. hour remain a little above freezing so the roads have some slush on them, Kantor said, but will probably freeze a little later on.

No major services are suspended in Washington City.

The worst areas in Washington are at the top of Highland Drive on East Telegraph Street and the bad dip in Buena Vista west of the Fire Department.

Other

Religious institutions, for example some of the wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have canceled services tomorrow, in keeping with the public safety admonitions for people to remain home and not drive unless absolutely necessary.

Related posts

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Kember Childers inspects the damage to her Pontiac Vibe after a slide-out on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2013 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Kember Childers inspects the damage to her Pontiac Vibe after a slide-out on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2013 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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23 Comments

  • Winterdriving December 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    The city could use front end loaders and backhoes to clear roads off if they would

    • easton December 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

      I’ve been driving around town and I’ve seen quite a few of them.

  • Dixielambs December 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    It is good of the LDS church to suspend services so as to not make members feel obligated to risk safety and property. (and, any way, what would we hear that we haven’t heard dozens of times before? Surely the reinforcement of indoctrination can take a one week holiday with out too many members escaping the influence…)

    • Anon December 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Oh C’mon! This is an article about SNOW FALL! Must everything EVERYTHING be turned into a religious or political debate?!

      • BeenThereDoneThat December 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

        Ummm, lest one leave one’s religion at the door, EVERYTHING IS a religious matter. Ever see/hear conference?

        I think Dixielambs is speaking about the same dynamics that stopped Domino’s Pizza from continuing its “30 minutes or it’s free” covenant….I mean guarantee. Too many drivers were breaking laws, and some people even got killed in traffic accidents, by pizza drivers trying to adhere to the strict interpretation of the pizza delivery commandment that was handed down from on high…I mean corporate headquarters…..same thing, really.

        In a lot of ways, some religions are like Domino’s Pizza: They (or the followers) might look good on the outside appearance, but it’s what they’re made from on the inside, regardless of outside appearance, that determines whether they are good or taste good. Outside appearance only goes so far….work on the inside and be a good pizza from within 🙂

  • Betty December 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Most LDS wards/church buildings are within walking distance. Grab a sled and tow the.kids to church. Get some of that quality family fun time on the way to church. For heavens sake, your churches are on every corner. I’m amazed to see all these families trekking across town for dinner or shopping in a snow storm but yet they want to cancel services on Sunday. Wow. Sounds like some folks want to sleep in (wink, wink).

  • B December 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Driving through Home Depot parking lot earlier an SUV was dragging a pallet behind it to clear the snow. Coming from Chicago, I find that particularly funny but I guess it’s somewhat effective.

  • I December 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I find it hilarious being from Iowa. We were snowed in our house when we got 8 feet drifts in our doorway and around our house. Our mailbox was buried. Cancelling church for 3 inches? Pretty crazy. Definitely wouldn’t be driving. Too many crazies trying to do donuts. I had to push quite a bit of people. Ridiculous. But I guess it’s true that you usually don’t see this so why have the stuff. Everybody, stay safe.

    • Big Bob December 8, 2013 at 1:41 am

      Welcome to a desert city that hasn’t seen this much snow before in recent memory..

  • Anna N December 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    The ward buildings are being closed because of people like the woman we found today in her wheel chair who cannot tibagan her way to the ward building on the corner. Sorry to disappoint our adoring “fans”..?

  • B December 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Amen!

  • CC December 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    While driving out today there were few people here and there waiting for the Sun Tran. After doing what I had to do, I drove by again the same bus stops and the there was a lady holding grocery bags and still waiting for the Sun Tran. I stopped and asked her if she would like a ride. She was freezing cold and was so grateful for the ride. After dropping her off home, I saw another lady walking down the street. You can tell she was very cold and was not prepared for the snow. Her clothes where wet and shoes filled with snow. I stopped and asked if she would like a ride home. With a huge smile she jumped in my car and placed her hands against the car heater. I didn’t care of my car seats got wet or whatever that didn’t matter to me. Thank goodness I gave her a ride cause she had a ways to go walking but not far by car. We need more public transportation and if our public transportation can’t get to our citizens of St. George, why not have shuttles drive around and help our public passengers not get stranded. They had no idea about the buses not being able to continue the routes due to weather problems. Why not set up some kind of ER shuttle service for public especially in the summer when it’s 120 degrees hot! There are families out there waiting for long periods of time for transportation. Our city has grown and there is still not enough public transportation. Not every can afford a car!

  • Charlene December 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    No salt no sand but we have a carousel. Good thinking.

  • Curtis December 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Not everyone is within walking distance of their building. Many elderly people drive due to physical inability.

  • david December 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Because people cant enjoy the carousel for most of the year and we all knew that we would have such a weather event 2 years ago when they got the carousel. Some peoples kids. The snow will leave in a few days and everything will be back to normal. But wait maybe we should tell our city government to spend thousands of dollars for plows and salt and chemicals for the one snow storm we may have in the next 20 years.

  • Brant December 8, 2013 at 12:33 am

    I think it’s funny here in cedar we can have a foot of snow and before the plows have a Chance to plow it we still get around with out all the trouble I have been on the free way in a front wheel drive car snow so deep I was pushing it with my bumper and still got where I was going with out any trouble people just need to slow down and be more carefull

    • Big Bob December 8, 2013 at 1:43 am

      Yea, well the difference in climate of St George and Cedar are night and day.

  • Steve December 8, 2013 at 1:20 am

    The towns in this area should pool resources/share expenses and have a minmum amount of snow removal equipment/salt trucks. The cost of these is easily paid for when you think of the monetary loss in property damage due to MVA’s, not even considering,injuries and all of the costs of emergency services to respond to all of the accidents. The poor condition of the roads also negatively effects all local busineses, because people are hestitant to leave their homes or even stop on their way home. Elderly people or sick individuals may still have to see their doctor or pick up a perscription. There is also a certain segment of the population that has to commute to and from work and does not have the luxury to just stay home. Hospital workers still have to go to work in the snow in day/night shifts. The limited resources could be used to target main roads and intersections. The roads need to be maintained to a minimal level just so emergency service vehicles can reach all parts of our communities. The real question is, can we really afford not to have minimal snow removal equipment? For a town like St. George not to have contingency plans for emergencys like this except to say “stay at home” should be recognized as unacceptable. We deserve better in this area, even if it is utiilized 2-3 times per year.

    • bender December 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      More like once a decade based on the past. The future may present a different climate though.

  • zacii December 8, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I’m amazed at how a little snow can freak out people.

    Growing up in Salt Lake, you gotta learn how to drive in the snow and ice. The big secret is just too slow down and leave a lot of room to stop, and no sudden moves.

  • riclyrikan December 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

    St.G get smart. You have road graders don’t you? Use those.

  • Opionated December 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

    The demographic in Saint George includes a lot of “Snow Birds”. Specifically people who because of age, or just plain good sense, would rather not or can’t deal with the snow. Best everyone stay close to home and help each other. Police, Fire, road crews, and other city workers have enough to deal with.

  • Rod Bird December 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    EVEN THE BOY SCOUTS HAVE A MOTTO TO BE PREPARED WHAT ARE CITY CAN’T BE PREPARED ARE WHEATHER IS CHANGING WHY CAN’TWE BE READY FOR THIS.THIS CITY SURELY GIVES ENOUGH TICKETS TO PAY FOR SNOW REMOVAL EQUIPTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN ARE CITY EVEN USE ARE TAX MONEY WISELY,THANKS TO OUR NEWLY RE-ELECTED MAYOR MCARTHUR, & CITY COUNSEL, & CITY MANAGER GARY ESPLIN !!!! THIS CITY NEEDS TO BE PREPARED!!!!! QUIT WASTING OUR TAX $ DOLLARS ON NEEDLESS CRAP LIKE STATUES AND CAROUSEL!!!!!! KUDOS TO THE GENTLEMAN WHO PICKED UP THE STRANDED LADIES WHO WERE FREEZING AND STRANDED AND GAVE THEM A RIDE HOME!!!!!!! AND WA,WA,WA TO THOSE WHO MISSED CHURCH TAKE IT AS TIME TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!!!!!!!

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