Talk about your white Christmas! Utah got it - from top to bottom and side to side.
Only St. George didn't disappear under winter's onslaught Sunday, and it rained in that little corner of the state. Elsewhere, from 2 inches to 2 feet of snow discouraged Christmas travel and made the coziness of a yule log that much more attractive.Avalanche danger in the mountain areas called for a high-hazard warning for the sixth day in a row along the Wasatch Range, from American Fork north into Idaho.
Large, spontaneous avalanches are likely on all slopes above 7,000 feet, the Weather Service warned. Back-country travel on or beneath steep slopes is discouraged. Four to 10 feet of new snow in most mountain areas assures that the hazard will exist for awhile.
A car that was forced into the Little Cottonwood Canyon creek by an avalanche Friday was removed Sunday.
Road crews all over the state spent Christmas Day on the move, trying to stay ahead of the fast-falling snow and keep roads open and as safe as possible.
The public's reluctance to travel was a boon for the Utah Highway Patrol and various county and city police agencies. They reported few accidents, although help was given to scores of motorists whose vehicles slid off roads.
Air travel was not deterred.
"We're doing pretty good," airport operations manager Jerry Dewsnup said. "We're keeping everything open. What we notice here is that we do extremely well, but the freeways lag behind."
Highways remained open, but Sgt. Gil Garcia of the Utah Highway Patrol said travel is discouraged and snow tires or chains recommended or required in many canyons.
Kiddies who got skis, sleds and ice skates from Santa Claus were ecstatic with the ultrawhite Christmas. Adults who had to drive anywhere were less enthused as roads became snow packed or deeply rutted and icy.
It was, in fact, the biggest Christmas Day storm in Salt Lake history, said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service. Five inches fell Sunday; the next best was 4 inches in 1983.
Glendale, Kane County, was buried under 2 feet of snow on Sunday.
In the north, the deepest amounts of snowfall - other than in mountain areas - were along Wasatch Front bench areas. Sandy had 17 inches. Centerville and Bountiful reported 16 inches each, while Ogden had 12 to 18 inches from valley to benches.
Other reports included Provo, 8 inches; Kanab, 12; Holladay, 14; Kearns, 10; Vernal, 5; Hanksville, Wayne County, 2; Currant Creek, Wasatch County, 12 inches; Delta, 5; Smithfield, Cache County, 10; mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, 14; Coalville, 8; Monticello, 12; Randolph, Rich County, 5; Roosevelt, 2; Tooele, 5; Millcreek, 16; Murray, 11; Clarkston, Cache County, and Fruit Heights, 14; Tremonton, 15; Springville, 6; Heber, 7; Helper, 4; Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell, 3; and Hill Air Force Base, 7.
Mountain reporting stations did not have much greater amounts from Sunday's storm, Alder said, because of the storm's direction. However, more snow may accumulate in the mountains Monday as the storm shifts to the northwest.
Alta reported 24 inches; Elk Meadows 20; Park West, 17; Solitude 21; The Spruces, 18; Brian Head, 18; Brighton, 22; Deer Valley, 20; Nordic Valley, 24; Powder Mountain, 26; Snow Basin, 24.
Temperatures in the low to mid-20s accompanied the storm and are expected to continue into Tuesday, Alder said.
Another "little shot of snow" is on the agenda for Tuesday night and early Wednesday, primarily in the west Utah mountains, but the storm will not top Sunday's, he said.