SALT LAKE CITY – Restrictions apply to several canyons in northern Utah as snow continued to fall Tuesday. And forecasters say the avalanche danger is still extremely high.
The Utah Department of Transportation issued a travel advisory along the Wasatch Front Wednesday morning. UDOT official John Gleason said the department is urging people to postpone the trip until 10 a.m. due to road conditions. Valleys along the I-15 corridor expect snow totals 4 to 6 inches and Cottonwood canyons 20 to 25 inches, according to UDOT.
“With so much snow expected, safety must come first,” Gleason said in a statement. “If drivers can stay off the roads tomorrow morning, they can avoid the worst weather and give our crews a chance to clear the snow off the highways.”
For the US 40 in a westerly direction from Heber to Fruitland, traction devices, chains or all-wheel drive are required according to UDOT in a tweet.
State Route 210 through Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed for avalanche control and will remain closed for the remainder of the day on Tuesday, the Utah Department of Transportation tweeted.
As of 9:40 a.m., the city of Alta was under an interlodge command until further notice, which means that everyone in the city must stay in a public or private building due to the risk of avalanches. The Alta and Snowbird resorts will be closed for the rest of the day on Tuesday.
According to UDOT, State Route 190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon was also closed on Tuesday morning for avalanche control, but reopened shortly after noon. The gorge was closed again at 2:15 p.m. to end traffic below the S-turns uphill and downhill traffic in Cardiff at 2:30 p.m. The closings were lifted at 3:27 p.m., UDOT said.
The SR 190 will be closed again overnight due to avalanche hazards and traffic safety, announced the emergency management in Salt Lake County. According to official information, uphill traffic at the estuary and downhill traffic in Cardiff are expected to close around 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
All vehicles entering the Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood gorges must be chain or four-wheel drive.
Chain or four-wheel drive is required for most of the day for all vehicles traveling on State Route 224 over Empire Pass in Summit County. The restrictions lasted into the evening.
🚧 #RoadClosureUpdate 🚧 # SR210 remains closed to the public for the day and until tomorrow morning (2/17) due to the risk of avalanches. Ongoing control work & high snowfall rates / high risk.
Traffic has been closed in BOTH directions until further notice.
No reopening is currently possible. https://t.co/RK5hzDD3B8
– UDOT Cottonwood Canyons (@UDOTcottonwoods) February 16, 2021
In southern Utah, State Route 143 is closed due to bad weather from milestone 18 south of Brian Head to milestone 28 on the Iron and Garfield border, according to UDOT. State Route 25 was closed from the intersection of State Route 24 to Fish Lake Tuesday morning, but reopened Tuesday afternoon, UDOT said.
Snow plows spent the day clearing freeways along the Wasatch Front, but freeway ramps and flyovers remained slick early Tuesday morning with multiple accidents or slips, the KSL Traffic Center reported.
Slow down and be careful. All roads are icy, muddy and / or snow-covered: https://t.co/30Pe9Vhdht
– KSL Traffic Center (@KSLTraffic), February 16, 2021
“Extreme” avalanche danger
Most of the counties along the Wasatch Front got snow overnight, and more will come as the day progresses, according to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman. The valleys can expect another 3 to 6 inches of snow before that storm ends Wednesday night, Weyman said.
The avalanche danger is extreme for the mountains in the Uinta and Salt Lake regions and is rated high for all other mountains in Utah along the I-15 corridor from Logan to St. George, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. The threat to the Abajos and Moab Mountains in southeastern Utah is considerable.
Natural and man-made avalanches are safe in the mountains of the Salt Lake area, the avalanche center said. Anyone staying near the mountains in the salt lake area is asked not to drive under or near a steep slope.
Due to the danger of avalanches, the UDOT avalanche crews have initiated a closure of the entire area north of Little Cottonwood Creek from Gate B to Grizzly Gulch in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The site lockdown extends 1,000 meters into Big Cottonwood Canyon, and the site is not expected to open until Wednesday.
All terrain north of Little Cottonwood Creek from Gate B to Grizzly Gulch. Extends 100 feet across Twin Lakes Pass and 1,000 feet into Big Cottonwood.
Extended embargo due to high avalanche danger.
Closure still in force new est. Opening. 2/17 / 21-08: 00 pic.twitter.com/DdYVPeQiCu
– UDOT Avalanche (@UDOTavy) February 16, 2021
The full forecast is available on the KSL weather page. Check traffic conditions and commute times on the KSL traffic page. Additional traffic and weather information can also be found on UDOT’s Commuterlink website at udottraffic.utah.gov.