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Storm dumps on Utah

Snow causes road problems, avalanche danger

A storm that first hit Utah on Thursday again pounded the Wasatch Front Saturday and was expected to continue dumping snow today.

The consistent snow caused problems on Utah's roads and created dangerous conditions in the backcountry where avalanche danger was high.

There was one major slide reported near Snowbasin ski resort in Weber County. One woman, who was swept up in the slide, suffered a laceration to her head when she hit a tree, said Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Brad Randall. She was able to ski to the base of the hill, where she was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

The Wasatch-Cache National Forest Utah Avalanche Center reported that avalanche conditions were expected to worsen today.

"The danger may rise to high (Sunday) morning as more snow accumulates," avalanche monitor Bruce Temper said on the center's Web site. "High means that both natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely."

At lower elevations the Utah Highway Patrol responded to more than 100 accidents in Salt Lake and Utah counties, including one that killed a West Jordan couple (see related story).

While the storm wasn't overly powerful, it contained lots of moisture and was very slow moving, said Peter Wilensky, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

"This storm would not have been all that exceptional except that it was a very slow-moving system," Wilensky said. "The heavy snow would just park over a certain area."

Besides being slow moving the storm was also massive in that it covered almost the entire state, Wilensky said.

Wasatch Front mountain benches north of Utah County received about a foot of snow Saturday, while the Salt Lake City International Airport gained about 4 inches. Higher elevations, like Alta ski resort accumulated about 3 feet of snow since Thursday, Wilensky said.

Higher elevations in southern Utah also were hit. Duck Creek Village, which sits at 9,000 feet in Iron County, had 42 inches since Thursday, Wilensky said.

Still other locales seemed to be missed. Heber City, for instance, reported only 5 inches since Thursday, Wilensky said.

The snow was expected to continue today but will likely taper off by late afternoon, Wilensky said. Another smaller storm system could bring a little more snow to the Wasatch Front late Monday, Wilensky said.

Highs and lows today were expected to be in the low 30s, like they were Saturday.


E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com