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.
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.
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.
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.
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