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Snow sticking to roadways, multiple crashes close southbound I-15 in Draper

Dec 10, 2021, 8:50 AM | Updated: 4:57 pm
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DRAPER, Utah — The Utah Highway Patrol closed SB I15 at 14300 south on Friday morning after multiple crashes, slide-offs amid winter weather conditions.

The closure was one of several road issues faced by morning commuters on the second day of Salt Lake City’s first winter storm of the 2021-2022 winter season.  Officials with the Utah Highway Patrol said their troopers were especially busy between midnight and noon.

Sergeant Cameron Roden said,  “Troopers responded, so far, to over 150 crashes.  That’s statewide, but it’s something that definitely kept us very busy.”

Investigators believe high speeds and drivers following too closely were some of the main factors behind the crashes.

Roden said, “People just need to remember that we’ve got to adjust our driving behaviors to what the conditions are.”

The Utah Department of Transportation reported that chains were required for semi-trucks traveling east- and west-bound through Parley’s Canyon in Salt Lake City for most of the morning. The restrictions were lifted just before 11:30 a.m.

General caution for drivers across nothern Utah is advised as lake effect snow is expected to fall throughout the morning.


 

UDOT Spokesman John Gleason said the lake effect snow was hitting the valley particularly hard by mid-morning on Friday.

“The lake effect band is really hitting the Salt Lake Valley incredibly hard right now,” Gleason told KSL NewsRadio, “we’re seeing slide offs and crashes, really across all of our interstates, but in particular I-80 in Parley’s Canyon.

“We’ve seen multiple slide-offs and we are restricting traffic for everyone in Parley’s Canyon for the next two to three hours.”

Impact on Utah’s water situation

Snow surveyors loved the snow totals that the storm left behind.  In some spots, the storm dumped 20 inches of new powder, however, analysts say the statewide snowpack isn’t even close to what it normally would be.

“We’re still in the bottom tenth percentile for the amount of snow that we would have on the ground for this time of year,” according to Utah Snow Survey Supervisor Jordan Clayton.

With Utah’s reservoirs filled to roughly 50 percent of capacity, Clayton believes we’ll need a series of strong storms to bring us back to what could be considered as normal.  However, Clayton said it’s too soon to panic about another dry winter.

“It is, I think, important to recall that we are very early in the snow season.  We’ve got a lot of time to catch up, but we just need these storms to start rolling in,” he said.

On the positive side, Clayton said the soil moisture levels in the mountains are above normal and far better than they were at this time last year.  That means less water will be absorbed back into the soil when the snow melts in the spring.

 

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Snow sticking to roadways, multiple crashes close southbound I-15 in Draper