Holiday travelers take note: Moderate road conditions expected in parts of Utah

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A storm system is anticipated to begin dusting Utah’s roads with snow as early as Friday night, making for potentially difficult driving conditions for holiday travelers over the weekend.

The storm system will combine with a cold front and begin moving through northern Utah Friday evening into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

According to the Utah Department of Transportation, the first impacts of the snow will be felt in areas toward the Interstate 84/Interstate 15 junction and Cache Valley through the northern spine of the Wasatch mountains Friday evening.

Snow accumulation is possible on mountain routes above 5,500 feet in affected areas. Snow will likely begin hitting valley floors Friday night, but accumulation is not expected.

The cold front and snow showers will primarily affect Ogden through Salt Lake City and the back and basin of the Wasatch Range around midnight.

Travel map indicates routes affected by a storm system in Utah Friday and Saturday | Image courtesy of the Utah Department of Transportation, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

By early Saturday morning, snow is likely to impact Utah from the northern border down through the central mountains, with moderate road caution advised in routes through those areas.

UDOT says the main concern for road snow is in the northern I-15 corridor south through Salt Lake Valley into Parley’s Summit and along mountain passes in the Wasatch Range.

The impact in Southern Utah is expected to be mostly minimal during the weekend, according to the National Weather Service, but snowfall is possible starting early next week into Christmas.

Roads affected by weekend storms

According to UDOT, the following routes will experience weather-related travel concerns during the weekend forecast period:

  • Interstate 15: From the Idaho state line south through Scipio Summit.
  • Interstate 84: Entire route.
  • Interstate 215: Entire route.
  • Interstate 80: Lakeside to the Wyoming border.
  • Interstate 70: Clear Creek and Salina Summit.
  • U.S. Route 40: I-80 junction to the Colorado state line.
  • U.S. Route 89: From the Wyoming state line south to Fairview.
  • U.S. Route 191: From the Wyoming state line through Indian Canyon Summit.
  • U.S. Route 6: From Delta through Solider Summit.
  • State Route 190: Entire route.
  • State Route 210: Entire route.
  • All other routes along the Wasatch front/back and basin.

Vehicle preparation and safety precautions for winter weather driving

Getting ready

  • Be aware of road conditions. UDOT recommends checking CommuterLink or UDOT’s current road conditions of 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, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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