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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Blizzard warning on a sign on eastbound I-80 in Salt Lake City warns of the major storm that hit Utah Tuesday afternoon.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday's blizzard rolled in from the north with a flurry and tapered off quickly — lasting just about three hours.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported more than 211 accidents and slide-offs occurring from Box Elder County to Utah County, leaving seven people with injuries. While there were a large number of incidents, it could have been worse, officials say.

"We did have a number of crashes and slide-offs, but I think the number could have been a lot higher," said trooper Todd Johnson, spokesman for the Department of Safety.

Johnson said he believes the public heeded the department's warnings to leave work early and stay off the roads.

"I think it's a well-orchestrated effort," he said. "I think people took it to heart."

The Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service reported that the storm hit Ogden around 4 p.m., Salt Lake City around 5 and Provo around 6.

"It snowed heavily, it snowed intensely," said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Parleys Summit accumulated 10 inches of snow during the storm, Brigham City received eight inches and the east side of Salt lake got about three inches of snow.

The front passed through "maybe a little bit quicker than we expected," McInerney said.

Though less severe than many anticipated, Tuesday's storm was part of a larger cold front that has left two to three feet of snow in the mountains since Saturday morning. On Tuesday alone, Brighton Ski Resort received 16 inches of new snow.

At the Salt Lake City International Airport, 17 inbound and eight outbound flights were canceled between 4:30 p.m. and midnight. That's out of 288 flights total.

In anticipation of the blizzard, schools announced closures and government agencies issued advisories on how Utahns can stay safe.

Meteorologists say the 3 to 6 inches of snow in the valleys shouldn't be the problem — it's the combination of snow, extreme cold and possibly damaging winds.

Ogden Peak experienced winds gusting to 86 miles per hour, and Deer Valley experienced gusts of 64 miles an hour.

As of 9:40 p.m., 530 homes were without power in the Salt Lake Valley, and 29 were without power in southern Utah, according to Rocky Mountain Power.

The only Utah highway that experienced a road closure was state Route 143, which was closed from Brian Head to Mammoth Creek due to blowing snow. Four-wheel-drive or chains were required in Parleys Canyon and in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons Tuesday evening. Interstate 80 was closed in Wyoming from Evanston to Lyman.

The storm was expected to keep moving south and affect most of the state. It is expected to end by noon today.

Schools and other government agencies issued announcements throughout the day on closures and cancellations. BYU closed campus Wednesday except for essential services. Many school districts along the Wasatch Front had "early out" days and canceled all extra-curricular activities on Tuesday. Many said closures would continue today.

The Salt Lake City International Airport sent a holiday advisory Tuesday afternoon reminding travelers to allow extra time to get to the airport and maneuver security once there.

 Those meeting passengers are urged to take advantage of the Park 'N Wait lot situated on the entrance side of the airport. Drivers can wait in the lot at no charge, then pull forward to the passenger pickup areas outside the terminals. A flight information display board is visible from the waiting lot, and coordinating with cell phones makes the process work best.

 The airport has opened an additional security screening checkpoint in the International Terminal from 6:30-10:30 a.m. each morning as an alternative if lines are long in other terminals.

 There is a pedestrian walkway that leads from the economy (long-term) parking lot to the terminals as an alternative to waiting for shuttle buses for those who would rather walk than wait for a bus. The path starts on the north end of the parking lot near sections 7A and 8A.

 For faster passenger check in, consider checking in with a sky cap instead of checking in at a terminal ticket counter. Delta Air Lines passengers can also use the sky caps on the curb inside the parking garage at the north end in front of Terminal Two.

e-mail: sfidel@desnews.com; mfarmer@desnews.com