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Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News
Don Owens shovels snow in Ogden: "I've shoveled this driveway three times in the last 45 minutes."

White-out conditions and a white-knuckle Christmas Eve commute gave way to calm skies and a mostly silent night after sundown Monday.

But the sweet stillness and improving roads lasted just long enough for families to sing a few carols and place last-minute gifts under their trees.

By 7:30 p.m., a postlude of snow showers began falling in localized areas such as Ogden, said National Weather Service meteorologist Linda Cheng. Overnight, lake-effect snow whirled into the western Wasatch Front and Tooele valley.

Salt Lake City International Airport officials said Monday's storm did not affect flights overnight.

Neither did other storms in places such as the Midwest and the East Coast, according to the airport's control tower. Flights came and went as planned.

Ski resorts such as Alta and Snowbird received up to 7 inches of new snow by 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, 3.5 inches of new snow fell in both Midvale and Sandy. In Coalville, 1 inch of snow had fallen by 8 p.m., while half an inch of snow fell in Provo, according to the NWS.

Snowfall was expected to total up to 4 inches in northern Utah's valleys, while up to 8 inches may be seen on the benches by dawn today. Some mountain locations could see a foot of new snow, according to the NWS.

Though the vast majority of the storm is over, a heavy snow warning remains in effect until 11 a.m. today along the Wasatch Front.

"(Conditions) should be a gradually improving day," said meteorologist Mike Conger at the NWS in Salt Lake City. "We could have another inch or so during the morning hours but cold and clearing off gradually."

Highs today are expected to reach only into the upper 20s in the Salt Lake area. Brigham City is expected to have a high of 28 degrees while St. George, which missed out on its white Christmas, is expected to reach 43 degrees. Cedar City, which saw the southern edge of Monday's blizzard, is expected to reach 27 degrees today.

More snow and rain are expected in coming days.

"We could have more snow as we get into the latter part of Wednesday," Conger said. "And more snow Friday night and early Saturday."

Utah's highway travelers didn't fare so well as those who traveled by air. Power lines were knocked down in some areas and one out-of-control vehicle took out a tree near 1120 S. Navajo St. (1335 West) just as the initial storm thrashed the valley. Dozens of vehicles slid off roads from Cache Valley to Cedar City. A handful of vehicles were involved in rollover crashes, according to police dispatchers.

Both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons in Salt Lake City were also plagued with slide-offs and fender-benders, though both were restricted to four-wheel-drive vehicles and vehicles with chains on their tires after about 3 p.m., dispatchers said.

The Utah Highway Patrol in Salt Lake County responded to 102 crashes during the storm, said spokesman Cameron Roden. Five of the crashes caused minor injuries, but no crashes reported statewide resulted in life-threatening injuries.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Adan Carillo said Monday night that each of the state's 487 snowplows was being used to clear snow and ice Christmas Eve. Several of the plows had been out since morning, spraying roads with a brine solution to help initial snowfall melt quickly, he said. The spraying puts snow removal crews about an hour ahead of the game in terms of removing ice and snow.

UDOT prepared for the storm by employing in-house meteorologists to work closely with supervisors statewide, Carillo said. The specialized forecasters are able to accurately predict snowfall depths for specific neighborhoods and cities, he said.

Their forecasts are more precise than those issued to the public by the NWS, Carillo said.

E-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com; bwinslow@desnews.com