Northern Utah can expect snow and bitter cold for the next few days, while a large storm is expected to hit southern Utah through Tuesday.
Residents of central and southern Utah were advised to avoid traveling if possible by the Utah Department of Transportation. Three to seven hours of heavy snowfall was expected and snowplow operators were prepared to work throughout Monday night.
Tuesday's forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of up to 4 inches of the white stuff in northern Utah, while the mercury is projected to reach only 21 degrees, according to the Salt Lake Office of the National Weather Service.
Temperatures are expected to remain at or below freezing through the rest of the week.
Wednesday will have a 20 percent chance of snow and a predicted daytime high of only 18. While temperatures should rise above freezing by the weekend, there's still a chance of snow every day until Monday.
There's a myth that it can't snow if it's too cold. It actually can, but the flakes contain less moisture the colder it gets. In most cases, Utah's winter storms are in the upper 20 degree range or higher when it snows.
Motorists need to be extra cautious because salt on roads becomes less effective as a melting agent the colder it gets.
Salt Lake City reached 24 degrees on Monday with an expected overnight low of 16. The Salt Lake City International Airport received just 0.1 inch of moisture, but that should increase significantly during the week.
The heaviest snowfall the next two days is expected south of Salt Lake City.
While the valleys aren't expected to be dumped on, the mountains are another story. Northern Utah's mountains could receive 1 to 2 feet of snow, while the southern Utah mountains could be hit with as much as 3 feet. Avalanche dangers will rise, but air quality should remain good.
Monday's winter storm created a morning traffic mess for commuters along the Wasatch Front.
The Utah Highway Patrol reported 20 crashes involving property damage, 10 slide-offs, and five crashes with minor injuries between midnight and 7:30 p.m. in Salt Lake County. During the same period in Utah County, there were 22 slide-offs and 15 property-damage crashes and one crash with minor injuries, troopers said.
UDOT briefly required chains for all semitrailers in Parleys Canyon, and restricted traffic in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons to 4-wheel drive vehicles or those with chains.
Contributing: Pat Reavy
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