Snow pounds the Wasatch Back
November 23, 2010
Mother Nature was expected to complicate holiday commutes by delivering yet another storm on Wednesday.
Forecasters predicted that a storm that began hammering Summit County on Tuesday would continue today. Cars slid off roads and crashed as snow fell.
"With this kind of a storm warning, it is essential when traveling to and from grandmother’s house for the holiday, to have things in your vehicle that could assist you should an incident take place. Please, please go out prepared," said Sgt. Ron Bridge, a spokesman for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. "Make sure that your cell phone is charged. Make sure that you have extra clothing, blankets and possibly some water."
Bridge monitored traffic accidents Tuesday morning on U.S. 40 and State Road 248.
Meanwhile, snowplow operators worked long hours keeping roads in Summit County cleared.
"We have a staff of about 20 who take care of about 260 miles of road," Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said. "They’ve been coming in at four in the morning and some of these guys are working 16 hours a day."
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The National Weather Service had a blizzard warning in effect for Wednesday morning. Forecasters predicted four to eight inches of snow in the Park City area Tuesday night. There was a 50 percent chance of snow today.
"We’ve gotten a nice set of storms so far and what they’re predicting is even more significant than that," Callahan said. "It might not be a record breaker, but if you’re out in it, it’s going to be pretty challenging."
He reminded residents that winter parking restrictions are in effect until April 15, 2011. It is against the law to park on any county road and violators could be cited or towed.
"Normally what we do if we determine somebody is in violation is we try to notify them and get them to move their car In a snow emergency like we are anticipating to occur in the next couple of days, we dispense with that and we just tow them," Callahan explained. "We’ve got to get the vehicle off the street in order to keep the streets safe for travel If we can’t keep the roads clear then everybody else is being held hostage for that parked vehicle."
The citations can carry a fine. But Callahan said recovering a towed vehicle is much more expensive.
"They’d have to pay the towing charges, which is going to be probably a couple hundred bucks,"
For plows to remove the snow the streets must be cleared of parked vehicles. Pushing snow into the road from your driveway is also a no-no, Callahan added.
"The road is not where you put snow The obligation of a private property owner is to keep the snow on their own property," he said.
Private snowplow operators sometimes push snow into the road, which is against the law.
"If they’re not particularly professional they might just push the snow out in the road and just leave a pile of snow on the road. We’ll be citing operators for that," Callahan said.
Avalanche danger is high
An avalanche warning was in effect Tuesday for the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas. Strong winds mixed with heavy snowfall to create potentially deadly conditions.
The slide danger in the Uintas was high and travel in avalanche terrain was not recommended, Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Craig Gordon said.
"People should stay off of steep, wind drifted slopes at mid and upper elevations, especially those facing the north half of the compass," according to Gordon. "The avalanche danger in this type of terrain is [high] and dangerous human-triggered avalanches are very likely."
Avalanche danger was considerable in the Park City area on Tuesday.