UPDATED: Snow, slush forecast to complicate travel over the weekend

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An incoming snowstorm is expected to make for difficult driving conditions throughout Utah Saturday and Sunday, including in Southern Utah along Interstate 15.

Update March 17, 2:25 p.m. The area of the winter weather advisory has been extended to include southeastern Utah, including the San Rafael Swell and the cities of Green River and Hanksville.

Shaded areas denote regions subject to winter weather advisory for snow. Map generated at 2:15 p.m. MDT, March 16, 2018 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory in effect from noon Saturday to noon Sunday.

A storm system will bring snow to northern mountain and far northwestern valley routes after midnight Saturday, then slowly spread southeast through the morning.

Snow showers occurring over southern mountain routes will begin to fill in along the I-15 corridor and across portions of Interstate 70 overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.

Snow will taper off Sunday night, with icy road conditions becoming prevalent Sunday night into Monday.

Total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected with localized amounts of up to 15 inches possible in the southern mountains.

The National Weather Service advises drivers to plan on slippery road conditions and be prepared for reduced visibility at times.

According to the Utah Department of Transportation, I-15 will be impacted by snow and slush conditions stretching from the Utah-Idaho border to the Black Ridge exit in Washington County. Other Southern Utah areas of concern include the following routes:

  • State Route 143 over Brian Head Flats, Parowan to Panguitch.
  • State Route 153 to Puffer Lake/Eagle Point.
  • State Route 14 over SR-14 summit, Cedar City to Long Valley Junction/US-89.
  • State Route 20 over SR-20 summit, between US-89 and I-15 at milepost 95.

A complete list of routes affected by the storm system can be found on the UDOT website.

Vehicle preparation and safety precautions for winter weather driving.

Travel map indicates routes affected by snow and slush in Utah Saturday and Sunday | Image courtesy Utah Department of Transportation, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click on image to enlarge

Getting ready

  • Be aware of road conditions. UDOT recommends checking CommuterLink or UDOT’s current road conditions or calling 511 for road and weather conditions before leaving home.
  • Clear any frost and snow from the car’s lights and windows. Make an effort to see and be seen while driving.
  • Inspect the vehicle’s tires, fluids, wiper blades, lights and hoses. Preventative maintenance may save a car from breaking down and stranding drivers and passengers on the highway.
  • Allow for leeway in travel time. Expect to drive slowly in adverse weather conditions. High speeds can lead to skidding off the road and getting stuck in the snow.

When driving

  • Take it slow. Drive well below posted speed limits and leave plenty of space between cars.
  • Approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shaded areas slowly. These areas are hot spots for black ice.
  • Slow down in cases of limited visibility and be alert.
  • Whether someone drives an elevated SUV or a ground-kissing Toyota Prius, again, UDOT says to take it slow. Just because a truck has 4-wheel drive doesn’t change how it handles on the road, especially when traction goes out the window. Mother Nature is no respecter of automotive diversity.
  • Keep the vehicle’s speed down. The faster the car goes, the longer it takes to stop. Be slow on the accelerator or risk having the car skid when the next stop sign appears.
  • Do not use the car’s cruise control while ice and snow still abound.

The above recommendations were compiled in 2015 from the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue website, the Center for Disease Control’s emergency winter weather checklist and the U.S. Search and Rescue Task Force’s website on blizzard preparedness. This is a list of suggestions, in no particular order of priority, and should not be presumed exhaustive.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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