A winter storm that arrived in Utah Tuesday already delivered 2 feet of snow in Tooele by Wednesday morning, and over 1½ feet of snow in several places across the Salt Lake Valley, the National Weather Service reports.

And it's prompting several travel issues and school districts across Utah to cancel in-person classes for Wednesday.

The Utah Department of Transportation also reminded drivers to stay off the roads if possible, as many delays are still being reported on major roads across Utah Wednesday because of weather-related crashes or inclement weather. The worst of those is state Route 9, which is closed at the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel; UDOT reports that closure may remain in place the rest of the day.

Northbound I-15 was also closed midday near Nephi because of a semitruck rollover blocking three lanes. UDOT is advising drivers to follow a detour in Nephi to avoid the closure. The detour is expected to remain in place through at least early Wednesday afternoon.

Troopers had responded to 130 crashes on Utah highways and freeways between midnight and 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. That's on top of more than 100 crashes on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Utah Transit Authority reports that its FrontRunner, TRAX and ski bus services are all experiencing significant delays as a result of severe weather.

Over 2 feet of snow has already fallen in the Cottonwood Canyons since Tuesday, the weather service reports. Approved traction devices, such as chains or all-wheel drive, are required for drivers heading into Big and Little Cottonwood canyons in Salt Lake County. UDOT has also implemented off-and-on closures in Little Cottonwood Canyon for avalanche control.

Similar traction laws are in place at Empire Pass in Summit County and Sardine Canyon in Cache County, where multiple slide-offs were reported Tuesday. All semitrucks are required to have traction devices to travel through Parleys Canyon on I-80.

Provo Canyon was closed between Vivian and Canyon Glen parks Tuesday night because of high avalanche risk. That closure was lifted early Wednesday.

The weather service also noted that 17 inches of snow had fallen at Salt Lake City International Airport by 9 a.m. Wednesday. Airport officials tweeted Wednesday morning that snow removal crews have been working throughout the night, but "passengers are asked to check with their airline regarding possible cancellations."

UDOT issued a road weather alert for the storm that remains in effect through Thursday morning. The agency advises that snow will be "heavy at times."

"Motorists are advised to use caution," the alert states.

Snow accumulates in Tooele on Wednesday.
Snow accumulates in Tooele on Wednesday. | Kaiden Shakespear

Some cities offices delayed opening by two hours Wednesday. Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy opened their offices at 10 a.m. The Utah Legislature started two hours later, beginning its committee meetings at 9 a.m.

As of 6:30 a.m., Rocky Mountain Power stated an estimated 3,500 customers were without power. It dropped down to a little over 600 outages by 9:45 a.m. However, the agency is bracing for potentially more outages as the snow continues to fall.

"Crews continue their work restoring service to customers across our service territory as a persistent winter storm brought heavy wet snow to the area," it wrote in a statement on its website. "It will take time to assess damage, make repairs and restore power due to the extent of the damage. Some customers may experience multiple outages or extended outages."

Delays, closures and remote learning

Waterford School in Sandy is closed Wednesday, as is Canyon Rim Academy in Millcreek. Tooele Army Depot initially said it would delay its start until 9:30 a.m.; however, it is now closed Wednesday. Tooele Technical College is also closed.

Blessed Sacrament School in Sandy, Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City, Our Lady of the Lourdes Elementary School in Salt Lake City, the Paradigm Charter Schools, Dancing Moose Montessori in South Jordan, West Valley City, and Lehi, and Anthem Prep in South Jordan all announced they will be closed Wednesday for the snow day.

The weather is also affecting Ash Wednesday. Christ United Methodist Church, 2315 E. 3300 South, was going to offer "drive through ashes" on Wednesday but the church was forced to cancel the event.

Several school districts and charter schools announced delays for Wednesday:

  • After initially announcing a two-hour delay, Provo City School District switched to remote learning all day and canceled half-day kindergarten, preschool and other after-school programs.
  • Davis School District secondary schools already have a late start for Wednesdays. Additionally, elementary schools and all-day kindergarten will start two hours late. Kindergarten and preschool are canceled.
  • Box Elder School District already has a one-hour delay on Wednesdays but announced it will be delayed an additional hour for snow.
  • Weber School District delayed bus pickups and school start times by two hours and canceled kindergarten and preschool.
  • Nebo School District announced a two-hour delay.
  • North Summit School District classes are delayed until 10 a.m.
  • Utah State University's Tooele campus announced a two-hour delay.
  • Tintic School District announced a two-hour delay.
  • Morgan School District classes will begin two hours late.
  • North Star Academy in Bluffdale; Pacific Heritage Academy in Salt Lake City; Canyon Rim Academy Charter School in Salt Lake City; the Lehi Ascent Academy; and the Layton and Ogden campuses of Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science will have a two-hour delay.

The following districts announced remote learning days Wednesday: University of Utah, Salt Lake City School District, Murray School District, Granite School District, Tooele County School District, Jordan School District, Alpine School District and Canyons School District, which also announced morning extracurricular activities are canceled unless road conditions improve. South Summit School District also announced remote learning for all Kamas schools.

Summit Academy Schools and the West Jordan and West Valley Ascent Academy campuses will also have remote learning.

BYU encouraged remote learning, and its Salt Lake Center moved to remote learning due to weather, too.

Salt Lake Community College said all campuses will be closed for in-person classes and remote learning options can be found on Canvas.