A heavy snowstorm clobbered northern Utah and snarled the state's roadways Monday morning, making plenty of work for police and snowplow drivers on the Martin Luther King holiday.
"Our guys were out there before the snow started falling," said Adan Carrillo, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation. "And they'll work nonstop until the storm moves out of the state."
Salt Lake County took the brunt of Monday's storm because winds stalled the snow near the Point of the Mountain, said David James, director of the Brigham Young University Weather Station.
The storm left 16 new inches of snow in Sandy and nearly 6 inches at the Salt Lake City International Airport by 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Things were just settling down for the Utah Highway Patrol at about 5 p.m. Monday.
"Our graveyard cars stayed out an extra couple of hours. The afternoon shift came in early. We had some people come in on their day off," spokesman Jeff Nigbur said. "We're just beginning to get caught up."
The Utah Highway Patrol reported 280 crashes and 47 slide-offs in Salt Lake County by 4:30 p.m., Nigbur said. There were 59 crashes and 11 slide-offs in Utah County, he said.
Nigbur said most of the crashes can be chalked up to drivers going too fast and following too close.
"People just don't slow down," he said. "Sixty-five may be the speed limit, but it's too fast for these conditions."
Officials had expected even more crashes, but the holiday might have kept some commuters off the road.
"It could have been much worse. I think the holiday helped," Nigbur said.
Utah legislators worked Monday, but the snow delayed the start of the 2008 session by about 30 minutes. The storm caused a Martin Luther King Day march to be canceled in Ogden.
Chains were required for vehicles heading through Parleys Canyon, and chains or four-wheel-drive were needed to make it up Big Cottonwood Canyon, where Brighton received 16 inches of new snow.
Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed Monday morning for avalanche control. Alta also got 18 inches of snow, according to the Weather Service.
A two-hour power outage was reported for most of the northeast area of Provo on Monday, and Provo Power crews had to fix a blown transformer near 4200 North along University Avenue. A Rocky Mountain Power spokesman said there were small outages in Moab and Panguitch, as well as a "small problem" in Salt Lake City.
Alpine reported 10 inches the most snowfall in Utah Valley on Monday, James said. Pleasant Grove received 9 inches, Provo and Springville recorded 5 inches and Spanish Fork received 4 inches.The Weather Service forecasts mostly sunny days and no new snow until Thursday, when another storm is expected to hit the Wasatch Front.