Snow falls throughout much of Utah on Christmas

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Much of Utah saw a white Christmas, with an overnight dusting turning into steady snowfall throughout the day that was expected to continue into Friday morning.

Mike Conger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said Thursday’s snowfall was heaviest along northern and western valleys and in the mountains.

Accumulations varied across the state, with valleys seeing anywhere from trace amounts to several inches of snow. Foothill areas collected 2 to 5 inches and mountains about 3 to 7 inches, Conger said.

Snow was expected to continue falling overnight in west-central and southwest Utah but thin out in northern parts of the state.

Conger said high winds were reported in the northwest desert near the salt flats. The highest gusts were around 40 miles per hour.

Chains or snow tires were required for vehicles heading up to ski resorts in northern Utah’s Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons, Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Adan Carrillo said.

Similar restrictions had been in place early Thursday for those traveling through Parley’s Canyon toward Park City, but Carrillo said those requirements were lifted by midday as conditions improved.

He said all 500 UDOT snowplows were on standby, but not all of them had been deployed. In the Salt Lake City-area canyons, snowplow crews ran nonstop after starting around 2 a.m.

Carrillo said UDOT’s main priority was keeping interstates clear.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said Thursday evening that officials had not yet tallied how many accidents occurred on state roads, but no fatal accidents had been reported.

“Snow on Christmas is actually a good thing because there’s just very light traffic out there,” Royce said.

Royce said several drivers slid off the road and a few crashes were reported in northern Utah, particularly on canyon roads.

One crash with injuries occurred in Utah County, and a rollover crash happened on State Route 59 near St. George, but neither accident resulted in life-threatening injuries, Royce said.

At Salt Lake City International Airport, weather did not affect airport operations, spokeswoman Barbara Gann said. Some patchy snow was reported Thursday morning but it did not accumulate, she said.

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