Another in a series of winter storms blew into Utah early Friday, causing avalanches, treacherous driving conditions, and thunder and lightning in the Bountiful area.
Most of Utah was blanketed with a new layer of snow. The St. George area, which rarely receives snow, received a light skiff for the second consecutive day, said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service."It's white, white everywhere. Santa's going to have good sleighing weather for the big day," Alder said.
The avalanche occurred near Deer Creek area of Provo Canyon, which was closed to traffic about 7:30 a.m, but was reopened shortly thereafter. Chains were required early Friday on all vehicles of 10,000 pounds or more in Parleys Canyon, the Utah Highway Patrol reported.
Two avalanches roared down slopes in Weber County Thursday, and Bruce Tremper, director of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center warned skiers and others to be alert, especially in the back country.
"Things are pretty dangerous out there. We have had spontaneous avalanches reported on slopes facing almost every direction from 7,000 to 10,000 feet. We have had an avalanche warning still in effect for today in the northern Wasatch Mountains," Tremper said.
The avalanche in Provo Canyon followed two avalanches in the Ogden area Thursday morning. One partially buried the vehicle of a Weber County sheriff's sergeant.
Tremper said a larger avalanche buried the North Ogden Pass Road, located between Ogden and Powder Mountain.
"We don't have more information on that avalanche. We're sending someone from our office to get more information." The northbound onramp to I-15 at 90th South was closed about 7:30 a.m.
Near blizzard conditions were reported in the Salt Lake Valley, particularly on the west side. Alder said wind gusts of 37 mph were clocked at the airport about 7:15 a.m.
New snowfall amounts generally ranged from the a half inch to an inch in the Salt Lake Valley to about a foot of new snow on U.S. 89 east of Kanab.
Other snowfall amounts: 1 inch, Panguitch; 2 inches, Richfield; 2 inches in South Jordan, Olympus Cove and Holladay; Provo, 2 to 3 inches; Hooper, Weber County, 3; Cache Valley, a half inch; Richfield, 2; Cedar City, an inch.
Tremper advised skiers to stay out of the back country unless they there are stable snow conditions.
"If they don't have good snow stability and route-finding skills they should avoid the back country. Go skiing at a ski area where avalanche control" is practiced, Tremper said.
"We should end up with 2 to 21/2 feet at some resorts from the storm that started Thursday night," Alder said.
Snow will begin falling again in the mountains late Saturday afternoon and in the valleys by at least sunset.