Video courtesy UDOT
COTTONWOOD CANYONS, Utah (ABC4) – Portions of roadways in the Cottonwood Canyons are closed to start Tuesday morning as crews work to clear snow.
The Utah Department of Transportation tweeted Tuesday morning around 5:15 a.m. saying, “Heavy snowfall arrived in #SR190 last night & showers to continue throughout the day. 2-4″ road [snow] possible for lower, 5-8″ for upper. Travel not advised unless vehicle is equipped [with] proper traction devices and driver prepared to navigate winter conditions.”
Minutes before this tweet, UDOT tweeted a message saying “S. R. 210 is closed to ALL travel for @UDOTavy control work. Large natural avalanche cycle overnight & ongoing. Plows maintaining roadway where it is safe to do. No [estimated] time of opening at this time.”
UTA says there will be significant delays because of the Little Cottonwood Canyon.
“#SkiBus Alert 5:50 AM: Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed to all travel for avalanche control. #Rt953 and #Rt994 will be significantly delayed. No estimated reopening time.”
UDOT is reporting that traction laws are in effect on I-80 through Parleys Canyon from milepost 129 to milepost 143 for all eastbound traffic. For westbound traffic, traction law is in effect from milepost to 146 to milepost 129.
Traction law is also in effect for all vehicles travelling on SR-224 through Empire Pass in Summit County.
SR-143 is closed in both directions between milepost 18 south of Brian Head and milepost 28 on the Iron and Garfield County lines due to inclement weather. UDOT is encouraging drivers to take an alternative route.
As of 6:35 a.m., UDOT is reporting that SR-25 is closed in both directions between mileposts 0 and 10 near Fish Lake. This is due to road weather and there is no estimated clearance time.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Winter Storm Warning” for the Wasatch Mountains south of I-80, which includes the Cottonwood Canyons. This warning is in effect through Wednesday at 5 a.m., and heavy snow is expected through this time period. Snowfall rates could get up to 1-2″ per hour. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet, with higher totals up to 4 feet possible in the highest parts of the Cottonwoods.
The high peaks will also see gusty conditions, including winds gusting as high as 35 mph in most areas with higher gusts along exposed ridgelines, resulting in blowing and drifting snow.
On Monday afternoon, the Utah Avalanche Center issued a release saying backcountry avalanche danger could rise to extreme.
“Very dangerous avalanche conditions exist, and deadly avalanches are likely in the Utah backcountry over the next few days,” the release reads. “Heavy snowfall and drifting from a significant and prolonged winter storm will continue to overload an exceptionally weak snowpack.”
UAC goes on to say the current backcountry danger is high and will likely rise to extreme in some areas.