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Severe snowstorm spurs closures and delays for Utah school districts, government offices and businesses

Multiple schools, government offices announce late morning starts

Snow plows remove snow on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — City and state officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads ahead of what’s expected to be the most severe snowstorm so far this winter on Monday.

Many schools and school districts have also announced they will start late or cancel morning classes.

“Temperatures will be plummeting pretty much all day for most locations in northern Utah,” said KSL meteorologist Dan Guthrie.

Southern Utah won’t see as much snow, but will experience temperatures in the 30s, Guthrie said.

The snowfall is expected to last through Tuesday morning, with another storm possibly making its way through the state on Wednesday.

The Utah Department of Transportation is working with the governor’s office “just to make sure that we have the best plan going forward,” department spokesman John Gleason said Sunday.

“And forecasting can be a little bit difficult ... but all indications are that this is a major winter storm. So we’re recommending that if people have flexibility with their travel tomorrow, that they stay off the roads as much as possible. If you can work from home ... that helps us to keep everyone safe, that’s the top priority,” Gleason explained.

More drivers staying off the roads would also allow crews extra space to clear them, he said. Many slide-offs and fender benders are expected in severe storms, he said, which can also delay snow plows.

“The next 48 hours are going to be crucial. We’re going to be out there going back and forth over the road,” Gleason said.

After the snowfall begins subsiding on Monday evening, ice concerns will increase with dipping temperatures, he said, and Tuesday morning could bring another perilous commute.

“Our forecast confidence for this winter storm is continuously rising, and is high overall at this time. Periods of moderate to heavy snowfall will generate significant impacts to the Monday morning and, most likely, the evening commute,” said Charlotte Dewey, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, during a Sunday briefing about the storm.

She said the snowfall will become increasingly heavy during the Monday morning commute, moving south throughout the day.

The weather is expected to impact travel through the I-15 corridor from Idaho to Cedar City, Dewey said.

Valley areas will see at least 5 inches of snow, she said, with Salt Lake City getting between 8 and 12 inches, Tooele should expect 18 to 24 inches, Sandy 12 to 18 inches, with an anticipated 4 to 6 inches in Brigham City.

Several school districts have announced plans to either start late, or cancel morning classes Monday due to expected snowy conditions, including:

  • The University of Utah canceled classes before 12:30 p.m., but the university’s health system will remain open. Salt Lake Community College has closed its campuses until 11 a.m. today. Westminster College has canceled classes for the day, but food services for students living on campus will remain open.
  • BYU has announced classes will be held today, but urged caution in traveling. Utah Valley University will have a normal class schedule today.
  • Salt Lake City, Provo, Alpine, Jordan, Canyons, Murray, Nebo and Juab school districts have canceled school for Monday. Salt Lake City School District’s snow makeup day will be May 22. Preston School District in Idaho has also canceled classes today.
  • Also canceling classes for the day are all campuses of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Judge Memorial Catholic School in Salt Lake City, Summit Academy in Draper, The Children’s Center in Salt Lake City and Kearns, Blessed Sacrament School in Sandy, Kearns Saint-Ann Catholic School, The McGillis School in Salt Lake City, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Kearns, St. Olaf’s Catholic School in Bountiful, The Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City, Weilenmann School of Discovery in Park City, Mana Academy in West Valley City, Capitol Hill Academy in Salt Lake City, Saint Andrew Catholic School in Riverton, Carden Memorial School in Salt Lake City, Monticello Academy in West Valley, Children’s Discovery School in East Millcreek, all three campuses of Freedom Prep Academy in Provo, City Academy Charter School in Salt Lake City, Spectrum Academy in Pleasant Grove, Ascent Academy in West Jordan, Mt. Vernon Academy in Murray, all Dancing Moose Montessori Schools, the Kearns and Magna locations of Entheos Academy, Freedom Prep Academy in Provo and all other locations, Elizabeth Academy in Millcreek, Garfield School in Sugarhouse, the Academy For Math, Engineering and Science in Salt Lake City, Canyon Rim Academy in Millcreek, and Intermountain Christian in Cottonwood Heights.
  • The Davis, Cache, Ogden, Granite, Weber, Tooele, Park City and Box Elder school districts will each start two hours later than normal, district officials said.
  • Also starting school two hours late are Ascent Academy in Farmington and West Valley, Good Foundations Academy in Riverdale, Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Early Light Academy in South Jordan, Athlos Academy of Utah, North Davis Prep Academy, and Hawthorne Academies in West and South Jordan. Herriman High School will start at 9:30 a.m.
  • Spectrum Academy campuses in North Salt Lake, as well as NUAMES Early College High School in Layton and Ogden and East Hollywood High, will have a two-hour delayed start.
  • Syracuse Arts Academy is cancelling its morning kindergarten classes and starting morning classes two hours late. Lumen Scholar Institute in Orem is online only today, with no on-campus classes held.
  • LDS Business College will close its campus until noon, and decide by 10 a.m. if afternoon and evening classes need to be canceled. Utah College of Dental Hygiene will have a delayed opening at 12:30 p.m.
  • Iron County School District announced school will be in session, although buses may be delayed and parents are urged to use their judgment in bringing students to school.

All state offices will delay opening by four hours and will open at noon, the governor’s office announced late Sunday.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s office said that all non-essential city services will telecommute or be on emergency leave until noon Monday “with a determination to be made at 10 a.m. regarding work functions for the remainder of the day.”

“City snowfighters will begin treatment on priority roads beginning this evening. It is likely that refuse collection will be delayed by a day this week,” according to the statement.

All non-essential services in Sandy will either function via telecommuting or be on emergency leave until noon Monday, city officials said on Twitter.

  • The bad weather is causing delays of 60 to 90 minutes at Salt Lake City International Airport. Crews are working to clear the runways of snow.
  • Several courthouses will delay opening until noon today, including Matheson, West Jordan, Tooele and Summit County.
  • City Creek Center will not open until noon today.
  • Utah’s Hogle Zoo will delay opening until noon.
  • The Natural History Museum of Utah will open no earlier than noon today and will reassess as the morning progresses, it announced in a tweet.
  • The Utah Legislature announced that committee meetings will be delayed until 9 a.m. Monday and floor time will begin at 11 a.m.
  • Davis County Health offices will open at 10 a.m.
  • Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum will be closed today and reopen at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Contributing: Dan Bammes