ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued both a winter storm watch and a hard freeze warning for portions of west-central and southwest Utah.
Winter storm watch
The winter storm watch is predicting snow up to 9 inches, with the heaviest impacts expected in Iron, Millard and Juab counties, including Cedar City, Milford, Beaver, Delta and Fillmore. Travelers should prepare for winter driving conditions along mountain passes and Interstate 15 from Cove Fort to Scipio Summit.
Hard freeze warning
The hard freeze warning specifically includes Southwest Utah, including the cities of Cedar City, Beaver, Milford and Delta and small portion of northern Washington County.
Frost and freeze conditions have the potential to destroy outdoor vegetation, especially in fruit-growing areas like orchards, and damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.
If a frost is predicted, cover your plants. This will both retain as much soil heat and moisture as possible and protect plants from strong winds, which can hasten drying and cooling. You can use newspapers, baskets, tarps, straw and other materials to cover your plants. Cover the whole plant before sunset to trap any remaining heat. Be sure to anchor lightweight coverings to prevent them from blowing away. The Farmer’s Almanac recommends additional tips for protecting outdoor vegetation.
Winter storm precautionary and preparedness actions
For the most current conditions, warnings and advisories, go to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office website. Additional information on driving conditions can be found at the UDOT website, as well as UDOT’s Commuterlink for current road and weather conditions, or dial 511.
Download this printable PDF: Vehicle Preparation and Safety Precautions for Winter Weather. This is a project the whole family could participate in – make it a scavenger hunt with potentially lifesaving benefits.
- Be aware of road conditions. UDOT recommends checking CommuterLink 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.
- Have emergency supplies in the car. A basic winter emergency kit may include items like a flashlight, batteries, snacks, water, gloves, boots and a first-aid kit.
- 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.
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