'Mother's Day blizzard' hits southern Utah

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 2:04 p.m. MDT

Downed tree limbs blanket a yard in Cedar City after a major snowstorm struck on May 11, 2014. At one point, thousands of people were without electricity due to fallen power lines.

Bethany Donaldson

CEDAR CITY — A major storm dumped more than a foot of snow across southern Utah over the weekend, knocking out power to more than 2,000 customers.

Cedar City residents were still dealing Monday with the aftermath of about 18 inches of heavy snow that blanketed the area.

Many trees fell and splintered under the weight of the snow, literally littering city streets with branches and debris. By 7 a.m. Sunday, there was already 6 inches of snow on the ground, according to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, and more continued to fall.

"It's been really crazy," said longtime Cedar City resident Nannette Batty. "This is the first Mother's Day blizzard I can remember."

Batty was ankle-deep in snow walking through her yard. The spring storm caused a mess and plenty of damage throughout the city. At one point, 6,700 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Cedar City were without electricity, leaving thousands in the dark, company officials said.

"It feels like the middle of winter," said electrician Tony Barney, who maintains the city's streetlights. "Most of it is because of ice and snow buildup on the power lines."

Barney was working hard to clear the power lines.

"This is the first time we've had to do anything like this in 25 years I've been an electrician," he said.

Meanwhile, Batty said she was dodging branches as she was clearing trees on her property of snow.

"And while I was doing that, other big branches were falling around in the yard,” she said. “It's pretty scary."

During her 50 years of living in Cedar City, Batty said she has learned that spring in Utah means anything is possible when it comes to the weather.

"This is crazy,” she said.

Power outages were scattered throughout Cedar City, and crews were going from one spot to the next to restore electricity to as many residents as possible, according to Rocky Mountain Power. The storms also wreaked havoc on the roadways.

The Utah Highway Patrol said the snow was especially heavy just north of Beaver and caused several slide-offs. There were also a few semitrailer rollovers in the same area, but no injuries were reported.

UHP blamed the incidents on drivers being caught off guard by the unexpected snowy conditions.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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