Snow, rain and wind cause crashes and power outages in northern Utah

Apr 14, 2021, 6:27 PM | Updated: 6:27 pm
utah power...
(A snapshot from a UDOT traffic camera on US 40. Credit: UDOT Traffic Twitter)
(A snapshot from a UDOT traffic camera on US 40. Credit: UDOT Traffic Twitter)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – The Utah Highway Patrol and Rocky Mountain Power had massive messes to clean up after strong winds and heavy snow in the northern areas.

The storm that hit I-80 in Parley’s Canyon and other parts of Summit County was small but stronger than many drivers were expecting. Officials say, at one point, the equivalent of three inches of snow per hour hit the freeway, causing many slide-offs and crashes.

One crash on S.R. 32 was serious enough to require one person to be cut out of a car.

Conditions were slippery in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, also. The “traction law” had to be enacted for both canyons, and a bus driver reportedly lost control of his vehicle in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which blocked the road.

Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. Nick Street says a strong snowstorm in April shouldn’t be a surprise.

“As a trooper working the road, some of my worst snow days were in April.  Today was no exception for the troopers working in Salt Lake County and through Summit County,” Street said.

When people think of “wind damage,” Street believes people may imagine toppled trees or blown-over structures. However, Street said road debris is another big problem they see due to strong winds. He says bungees used to secure things like ladders to work trucks degrade over the winter, and a powerful gust of wind could make those bungees snap.

Street said, “We even had, at one point, a refrigerator that blew out of a vehicle on the freeway.”

Officials with Rocky Mountain Power reported there were thousands of customers dealing with power problems because of the weather. Spokesman Dave Eskelsen said there wasn’t one main outage as much as there were many small “damage points” that needed to be fixed around the clock.

“Whether it’s wind or real heavy snow, you’ll have a series of damage points as long as the weather lasts,” Eskelsen said.

After the winds died down, Eskelsen reported light rain caused power pole fires across northern Utah. This stems from insulators in the poles getting dusty.

He said, “When it first gets wet, that dust can conduct electricity over the surface of the insulator.” They’re pleased they didn’t get any reports of trees, branches or flying debris like trampolines causing any of their outages.

Today’s Top Stories


A Navy soldier stands guard as authorities wait for the arrival of people who were evacuated from t...
Associated Press

Tropical Storm Colin brings rain to Carolinas, weakens

Tropical Storm Colin formed along the coast on Saturday. Conditions are expected to improve by Monday's Fourth of July celebrations.
1 day ago
The National Weather Service of Salt Lake City says there is a red flag warning in effect for Weste...
Lindsay Aerts

Fourth of July weekend weather conditions ripe for fires

The National Weather Service of Salt Lake City says there is a red flag warning in effect for Western Utah. It warns that many fires are human caused.
3 days ago
Salt Lake County is working to make sure its golf courses don't use as much water in the drought....
Martha Harris

Salt Lake County says it has decreased water-use on its golf courses

Salt Lake County says it has back water usage on its golf courses. The county says it has done by changing how they water.
3 days ago
High water in the Gardiner River along the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, ...
Curt Gresseth

Be ready for flash flooding: Expert shares advice

An expert with the Utah Division of Emergency Management shares his expertise and crucial tips on how to be ready for flash flooding when you are in a vehicle or at home.
6 days ago
Low water levels are plaguing the Great Salt Lake for several summers now....
Dan Bammes

Lake Powell is sitting low; this group is trying to raise the water levels

Lake Powell has been drying up for years. and one group wants its levels go up by 60 feet. But that's not how a 2017 drought plan had it mapped.
6 days ago
Multiple Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints buildings are featured in the photo. The churc...
Michele Rowe

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks for ways to reduce water usage across it’s properties

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement today about the steps they are taking to help with the drought.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Snow, rain and wind cause crashes and power outages in northern Utah