The snow finally overwhelmed education.
Following an overnight pounding that deposited as much as 15 inches overnight in Park City, the Park City School District was forced to cancel school for its six elementary, junior high and high schools Friday."The plows couldn't get out, so the buses couldn't get out. The road conditions were too poor to get kids to school," said Burke Jolley, the district's assistant superintendent.
Students will make up the missed school day on Monday, March 16, a day the district had built into the schedule to account for any snow days. The district, which covers Park City and parts of Summit County, has only canceled school "four or five times" in the past 10 years, Jolley said.
The heavy snow in Summit County also made traveling difficult, and the Utah Department of Transportation restricted travel on I-80 through Parleys Canyon to vehicles with snow chains or four-wheel drive. Also, wind gusts as high as 40 mph were recorded in the canyon.
Both Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons remained open. But UDOT officials were prepared to close the canyons if necessary.
"Everything, especially in northern Utah, is pretty much snowpacked . . . with slush in the lower elevations," said UDOT spokeswoman Andrea Packer. "If the temperature rises as we go through the day, it helps the snowpack to melt."
Despite the nasty conditions in Summit County, the commute within Salt Lake County was largely uneventful.
About a half-dozen accidents were reported, none with serious injuries, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Verdi White said.
"(The traffic's) been slow going but not too bad," White added.
Those commuting from neighboring counties had a more eventful commute. Visibility was reportedly limited on Weber and Davis county roadways, "although I don't think we had an inordinate amount of accidents," White said.
Motorists traveling I-15 from Utah County Friday morning were also slowed by a stalled car near 10400 South.
The evening commute could be worse, however, as temperatures continue to drop and slush begins freezing, said Bill Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City office.
"We could be looking at a pretty miserable scenario for this evening," Alder said.
This storm, which rolled into Utah Thursday night, hit the Summit County area hardest, Alder said.
In the Salt Lake Valley, snow totals were diminished because warmer temperatures kept it raining most of the night. The valley had received 4 to 5 inches by midmorning, but Alder said that as temperatures continued to drop, the valley could expect up to 10 inches.
Weber and Davis counties not only got more snow (up to 10 inches in the Ogden area), but also had high winds. Alder said gusts of 46 mph were recorded at Hill Air Force Base and over 40 mph throughout the two counties. The winds are the result of a low-pressure system in Nevada and a high-pressure system in Wyoming. As the high pressure shifts to the low pressure, it can drive canyon winds through the valleys.
The storm was pretty much statewide, Alder said. In southern Utah, Brian Head ski area got 12 inches and Duck Creek had 14 inches. In the north end, Beaver Mountain ski area had 8 inches. Only the eastern portion of the state hadn't been hit yet, Alder said.
The Weather Service has posted a heavy snow warning through tonight for all of Utah. The snow is expected to become heavier by midafternoon and clear up for the weekend. Skies on Saturday and Sunday are expected to be party cloudy, Alder said.