Heavy snowfall likely to impact Monday morning commute

Jan 28 2013 - 5:48am

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Heavy snowfall across the Top of Utah sent motorists skidding Sunday evening, briefly closing Sardine Canyon and dropping almost 4 inches of snow on Layton in an hour.

The National Weather Service was projecting as much as 8 inches of snowfall through the night, likely continuing to impact the Monday morning commute.

Weber County Consolidated Dispatch counted 38 minor traffic accidents between noon and 6 p.m. plus 35 "motorist assist" calls in the same time period.

"It's everywhere, not just on the interstates," said Dispatch supervisor Sue Smith. In all that activity, only one of the calls required an ambulance, she said, for minor injuries short of hospitalization.

"It helps a lot that it's a Sunday and most people are at home instead of being out and about," she said.

Box Elder County Dispatch reported a similar number of minor mishaps on snowpacked roads while a Davis County Sheriff's dispatcher said they were too busy to count the mishaps, but both reported no serious injuries.

The National Weather Service at 7 p.m. was reporting 12 inches of snow in Bountiful in the prior 21 hours, but noted 3.7 inches fell in Layton between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

"We've had a ton -- it's been crazy," a Layton dispatcher said, but again, no serious accidents had been reported.

"Nothing -- knock on wood -- too eventful," Ogden Police Lt. Will Cragun said at 8 p.m. of the traffic frenzy luckily lacking serious injury. "I think the snowplows got out quickly and got things under control."

UDOT on twitter reported Sardine Canyon between Brigham City and Logan closed at 2:30 p.m, reopening around 4:45 p.m. Box Elder Dispatch reported only minor traffic accidents leading to the closure.

"Just slide-offs, snowpacked and icy," the dispatcher said.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning at 5:54 p.m., in effect until 5 a.m. today. It called for up to 3 to 8 inches of snow in the Salt Lake and Tooele valleys. "Winter driving conditions can be expected on all area roadways tonight through the early morning commute Monday," it read.

At 5:07 a.m. Sunday, icy conditions ahead of the storm caused a fatal rollover near Tooele. A 33-year-old driver hit a patch of black ice and spun out in his Chevrolet Blazer on Interstate 80 in Tooele County, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The driver, Ethan Pitts, of Sandy, was in a hospital with serious injuries. Troopers say his 24-year-old companion, Kristina Tree, was ejected from the SUV and killed. She was not wearing a seat belt.

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