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Weekend weather looks stable

Coming storm won't hit S. Utah until Monday

Published: Friday, Dec. 29 2006 12:08 a.m. MST

A snow covered street after a snowstorm dropped over 18 inches of snow in Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 28.

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

Not too warm, not too cold — that's the simplified prediction for the upcoming New Year's weekend, according to one meteorologist.

A storm zeroing in on California is headed east, but it's expected to affect mainly southern Utah, and not until Monday.

"For the majority of the weekend, it looks dry and stable," said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

The big snow event this week blew into the Cedar City area, where some locations saw 12 to 18 inches of snow overnight Wednesday. The weather was a factor in multiple accidents along I-15 from as far north as Fillmore to the hardest-hit swath just south of Cedar City.

"Depending on the area, it was either snowing heavy and plows couldn't keep up, or it was blowing snow and you couldn't see the road," said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Marc Nichols.

Two jackknifed semitrailers in separate incidents Wednesday night on I-15 caused problems for northbound traffic, but the highway remained at least partially open while workers cleared the scenes.

On Thursday afternoon, it was still snowing around Cedar City, and blowing, freezing conditions made traveling worse.

"It's bad enough that if you don't have to go anywhere, don't be driving," Nichols said Thursday.

UHP trooper Jeff Nigbur said that between 5 p.m. Wednesday and about noon Thursday, there were 45 slide-offs and accidents that involved 34 cases of property damage and two personal injuries, both minor, in the Washington County area.

Throughout the state, conditions are expected to be calm for the weekend, with highs in the 30s in the valleys and upper 20s in the mountains and lows in the teens for most of Utah. Tardy said valleys can expect some inversions Saturday and Sunday.

For the year, precipitation levels are normal or close to it in most areas.

"Statewide, we're doing really well," Tardy said.

A few areas in the Wasatch range and northern Utah, he added, recorded below-normal accumulations of rain and snow. But one word, drought, has been noticeably absent this past year when talking about the weather, according to Tardy.


E-mail: sspeckman@desnews.com

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