UPDATED: Overnight storm causes road and school closures, power outages to over 6,000 residents

File photo of Brian Head, Utah, Feb. 5, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Brian Head Public Safety, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH— A cold front pushing through the state has brought cold weather and winter weather conditions to parts of Southern Utah. Cedar City residents woke up to find as much as 12 inches of snow in parts of town. The storm has caused road closures and delays in several areas and left over 6,000 people without power.

Updated Feb. 5, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. – According to the Rocky Mountain Power website, power has been restored to all but 585 customers along the I-15 corridor from Enoch to New Harmony.

Road and weather forecasts

Snow in western part of Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 5, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Sharon Brown, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Utah Department of Transportation has issued a road weather alert effective from noon Tuesday until noon on Thursday as the cold front continues to push through the state from the Pacific, bring heavy precipitation and snow to the region.

Interstate 15 near Cedar City was a snarled mess this morning when 15 semi trucks became victim to the dangerous road conditions and spun out after traveling too fast for the winter weather. The Utah Highway Patrol reported that the freeway was closed down for a short time causing traffic to back up, before finally reopening around 8 a.m. Motorists traveling south from Cedar City to St. George reported slow conditions, with traffic moving around 40-50 mph. Northbound traffic was moving slowly as well, although it has been confirmed that the interstate is open.

Please check the UDOT website for the most current road conditions and traffic cameras.

A winter weather advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for southwest Utah, including Cedar City, Beaver and Milford. The advisory is in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday. Snow showers are expected to continue throughout the afternoon and persist through Wednesday morning and into Thursday.

Although some valley snow is expected in some places, the biggest threat with be to the Southern Utah’s mountain areas where heavy accumulation may occur.

St. George News readers are reporting heavy rain and hail in parts of Washington County.

Road closures

Brian Head Public Safety reported in a Facebook post that state route 143 is currently closed in both directions between Parowan and Panguitch due to “extreme weather conditions.” UDOT has not estimated the time the road will be reopened and all motorists are advised to take another route.

“UDOT has several plows out and is working to get it reopened. We will update,” the post states. “Thanks for your patience.”

As of 10:15 a.m., UDOT reports that Cedar Canyon, state Route 14, is closed to all traffic from milepost 5 near Cedar City to milepost 30 while crew clear the road. Estimated time of clearance is approximately 3 hours.

UDOT advises when there are snow events, motorists should be prepared for chain restrictions at any time when traveling in mountain areas and canyon routes.

Power outages and school status reports

Over 6,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Cedar City are left without power as of publication of this report, due to four weather-related power outages.

Snow in eastern part of Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 5, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Nicole Pickering, St. George News / Cedar City News

Two of the outages, affecting nearly 3,000 customers on the east side of town, are due to downed power poles, a Rocky Mountain Power customer service employee said. Crews are working to restore power, and service is currently expected to be restored by noon.

“It’s very much an estimate now because we have to replace the poles and such,” the Rocky Mountain employee said.

Over 3,000 customers on the west side of Cedar City are also without power. Crews are investigating the cause of the outage, and power is expected to be back by 10:30 a.m.

“Living in Utah, just be prepared for these types of things … Some people have generators, and then just make sure that you have what you need inside the home to do what you can to keep warm,” the Rocky Mountain employee said.

As of 9:30 a.m., Iron Country School District reports Fiddler’s Elementary, Cedar High School, South Preschool and Canyon View High School are all currently without power. On the district’s Twitter account, officials announced that school has been cancelled at Fiddler’s Elementary. The district said determinations will be made whether to cancel classes at other schools later this morning.

As of 10 a.m., readers are reporting power is still out in Cedar High School and kids are being kept in their first period class.

This is a developing story.

St. George News reporter Mikayla Shoup contributed to this story.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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