High winds and heavy snow: a threatening weather combo

Local News

A combination of weather events converged on Utah late Monday, spurring people from the valleys to the mountains to take precautions.

For truckers, especially those driving along I-80 through the West Desert, the passage can be perilous.

“Going by an overpass or a cut-out in a mountain or something like that,” one driver told ABC4.com, “and you come through it, and all the sudden, the wind gusts you and grabs you and another car or a truck beside you, it’s strenuous.” 

The people who patrol the highways sent out warnings Monday, to anyone sharing the road with the big rigs: Observe the “12 Second Rule” and twelve seconds of travel time between their cars and the vehicles ahead.

 “You’re looking out for those higher-profile vehicles that have a harder time negotiating the roadways in the wind,” said Sergeant Nick Street. “Make sure you give yourself plenty of space.” 

For the men and women who keep the power flowing, and keep the heat and lights on, rallying to prepare for round-the-clock rotations is all in a day’s work.

“As usual, we have crews 24/7, ready to go, if there’s an outage, said Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Tiffany Erickson. “But right now we have additional line personnel on stand-by just in case we have additional outages due to the storm.”

Line crews didn’t have long to rest, after the last winter storm brought wet, heavy snow that pulled down power lines and caused more than 15,000 black-outs on January 20 – 21, 2018. But already, they’re ready to go, if the winds wreak the same havoc.

“There are always going to be some events that are unforseen,” said Erickson.

And avalanche forecasters are bracing for the worst.

“Too much snow, too quick, with too much wind,” said Utah Avalanche Center’s Trent Meisenheimer. “And we’re seeing those slopes get overloaded, and they’re shedding their snow.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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