Heavy snow on Francis Peak should not be surprising, meteorologist says

Oct 9, 2021, 7:38 PM | Updated: 7:50 pm

Heavy snow on Francis Peak in Davis County Saturday morning forced the cancelation of a 50-mile ult...

Heavy snow on Francis Peak in Davis County Saturday morning forced the cancelation of a 50-mile ultramarathon race. Nearly 90 runners needed assistance getting off the mountain. Photo credit: Colby Walker

FARMINGTON, Utah — Heavy snow on Francis Peak in Davis County forced the cancelation of a 50-mile ultramarathon on Saturday morning. It also caused 87 runners to be assisted off the mountain by the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

Heavy snow a surprise?

Should the snow have come as much of a surprise as it did?

KSL Meteorologist Brett Benson says no.

“At least the peak, up there, is over 9,000 feet, 9,500 feet,” he said to KSL NewsRadio. “And you’d definitely expect some snow at those elevations with this storm system.”

Benson says Snowbird picked up 10 inches of snow from this storm. It has a base that is below 9,000 feet. 

Another storm coming

Benson says another storm coming into the area in the next few days could bring snow to even lower elevations. It could, for a time, put a hold on any outdoor activities.

“The next storm will be colder,” Benson said. “So we will see snow. We could even see some snow at times mixing down to the valley. At least on the benches, we’ll see some snow with this next storm. And certainly in the higher elevations we’re going to see quite a bit of snow.”

The marathon started in East Mountain Wilderness Park in Kaysville and was to end in Tunnel Springs Park in North Salt Lake. The course is made of a 12,000-foot vertical gain and a 10,000-foot descent.

The race began at 5:30 a.m. However, there were a group of runners that got started at 4:30 a.m.

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Heavy snow on Francis Peak should not be surprising, meteorologist says