Winter storm blankets Wasatch Front in a foot of snow. Car accidents, school closures follow

Some Utahns woke up to over a foot of snow Wednesday in what is the biggest storm to hit the state so far this winter, prompting dozens of car accidents and school closures.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for much of central Utah, with eastern parts of the state in a hazardous weather outlook.

Snow hit most of the West, and the mountain regions of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, central Idaho and northern Nevada are in a winter weather advisory.

Shants Edwards shovels a sidewalk in Herriman on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, after a winter storm dumped snow across the Salt Lake Valley. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The storm triggered some power outages in Utah, most of them confined to Salt Lake County, with some scattered outages in Grand County, according to Rocky Mountain Power. As of 9 a.m., the utility company was reporting 479 outages, affecting 4,668 customers.

Since Tuesday night, nearly a foot of snow accumulated throughout Cottonwood Heights, Murray and the benches of Salt Lake City. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird ski resort is reporting 19 inches over the last 12 hours.

Parts of Tooele County also saw about 15 inches.

The storm isn’t expected to stick around Wednesday, with skies forecasted to clear and only high elevation areas and some parts of northern Utah will see more snow. More snow could accumulate by Thursday morning, although the bulk of the storm has already moved through Utah, according to the National Weather Service.

But the roads are still slick, and the Utah Highway Patrol said they responded to between 120-130 car accidents by 7:30 a.m., according to KSL NewsRadio. Salt Lake police advised residents to stay home if they can.

Troopers warned of dangers driving and said they responded to between 120-130 crashes due to the storm Thursday by 7:30 a.m., KSL NewsRadio reported. Big Cottonwood Canyon was closed to travel until further notice.

Snow is stacking up in parts of southern Utah, too, with Beaver seeing over 3 inches accumulating and Cedar City reporting about an inch.

A motorist drives on a plowed street.
A motorist drives on a plowed street after a snowstorm in Cottonwood Heights on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

School delays and cancellations

The following schools moved to remote learning Wednesday:

  • Canyons School District.
  • Jordan School District.
  • Granite School District.
  • Alpine School District.
  • Hawthorn Academy at South and West Jordan campuses.
  • AMES Academy for Math Engineering and Science.
  • Mana Academy Charter School.
  • Tooele County School District except Wendover High and Anna Smith Elementary.
  • Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind.
  • Paradigm Schools in South Jordan.
  • American Preparatory Academy Charter in West Valley and Draper.
  • Wallace Stegner Academy campuses in Salt Lake City and West Valley City.

The following schools moved to a one-hour delay:

  • Ogden School District.
  • Weber School District.

The following schools moved to a two-hour delay:

  • Provo School District.
  • Davis School District — Kindergarten, Head Start, Early Head Start, Community Preschool and before-school programs will not be held Wednesday.
  • Tooele County School District — Most schools will have a two-hour delayed start, with preschool and kindergarten canceled altogether. The delayed start does not apply to Wendover High, Anna Smith Elementary and Ibapah Elementary.
  • Salt Lake City School District — Employees will have a one-hour delay, and half-day programs held in the morning will be canceled. Yándary Z. Chatwin, executive director of communications and community relations for the Salt Lake City, said “we encourage families to exercise their best judgment as they make decisions for their students today.”
  • Syracuse Art Academy

The following schools will start at 10 a.m.:

  • Ascent Academy in Lehi.
  • East Hollywood High School.
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School.
  • North Star Academy.
  • Rowland Hall.

The following schools will start at 10:30 a.m.:

  • Canyon Rim Academy.
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School.
  • Juan Diego Catholic High School.
  • Saint John the Baptist Catholic Middle School, Draper.
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Judge Memorial High School will have a late start for in-person finals. The Period 8 final will take place from 10:35 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., with the Period 3 final from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Provo and Orem UCAS schools will be delayed by two hours and will begin classes at 11 a.m.

The following Utah schools canceled class Wednesday:

  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy.
  • Prince of Peace Lutheran School.
  • Reed School.
  • St. Francis Xavier School.
  • Saint Andrew Catholic School.
  • Waterford School in Sandy.
  • Dancing Moose Montessori Tuition.
  • Carden Memorial.
  • Bonneville Academy in Stansbury.

Both the Cache County and Logan School Districts did not change schedules Wednesday.

Non-school delay

  • At Hill Air Force Base, all non mission-essential personnel have a one-hour delay in reporting.
  • State employees who are surge remote work eligible will work remotely Wednesday due to the weather, officials said, urging state employees to contact their supervisors with any questions.

Contributing: Ashley Imlay

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