The "Alaskan Clipper" kept a firm hold on Utah Tuesday, causing broken pipes, power outages, and closing the Army's Dugway Proving Ground.
But weather officials say the storm system will loosen its grip toward the weekend, when Utah skies will once again be cloudy.Tuesday's temperatures, a hair warmer than Monday, brought little relief to Utahns fighting some of the most frigid temperatures in history.
Dugway Proving Ground spokeswoman Kathy Whittaker said civilian employees of the western Utah desert installation were ordered home Tuesday morning when a power outage left the base without heat. The Dugway gymnasium was being used as a temporary emergency shelter, she said.
Utah Power & Light Co. crews worked in sub-zero temperatures to restore two spans of power line that fell about 6 a.m.
UP&L spokesman Dave Mead said the outage also affected sparsely populated areas around the installation, including Skull Valley, Rush Valley, St. John and Vernon.
As much as 60 percent of Provo was without electricity for four hours Monday when power equipment failed in sub-zero temperatures, closing schools and area businesses.
The north half of the city was without electricity until 11 a.m., which closed schools in Provo District for the day and postponed classes at Brigham Young University.
The bitter temperatures also damaged sprinkler systems of the Orem City Center and several businesses, resulting in indoor floods.
In Salt Lake City, a broken sprinkling system at the Boyer Building, 185 S. State, spewed water into the street late Monday afternoon and flooded much of the basement. Students at Skyline High School were told to stay home Monday because of broken pipes that flooded the school.
William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake Office of the National Weather Service, reported that the mercury slid to 33 degrees below zero Tuesday morning in Coalville, tying the town's all-time record February cold temperature set in February 1982. The southern Utah community of Milford had a record minus 29, beating a February 1919 mark for the city.
Records were also set in the Highland Park/Sugar House area. The temperature was 7 below, two degrees higher than Monday's low. At Hill Air Force Base and Layton the low was 6 below, which ties the previous cold February day in 1942.
Utah's coldest recorded temperatures Tuesday morning were minus 50 at Middle Sink, at the top of Logan Canyon, and 44 at both Roosevelt and Woodruff.
The minus-44 temperature in Roosevelt was a Utah record for any February day and all-time mark for the eastern Utah community of 4,000. The old record was 32 below set on Jan. 1, 1952. Still, Tuesday was warmer than Monday.
"In Utah, lows Monday were generally in the minus 10- to minus 40-degree range and all-time record lows for any date fell in a couple of locations," said Alder.
The Salt Lake International Airport set a record low for Feb. 6 with a minus 14 degrees. The previous record for the date was a zero reading in 1933.
Tuesday's low at the Salt Lake International Airport fell to minus 10. It was expected to to reach a high of 17. The normal for Feb. 7 is a high of 42 and low of 23.
Alder said Utahns will see a slight moderation of the bone-chilling temperatures Wednesday.
Thursday scattered areas of snow are expected, mainly in the south, becoming more statewide by Saturday. By the week's end, the electric blankets can be turned down - a bit. Lows, Alder said, will be in the teens; highs in the upper 20s and 30s.