Drivers Struggle With Heavy Snow During Morning Commute
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Even with schools and some government offices closed, many Utahns were still out on the streets, braving the snowy conditions.
KSL TV Chief meteorologist Grant Weyman said he expected the conditions would be far better for driving in the afternoon, but that was little consolation for drivers whose commute times doubled Tuesday morning.
“Salted roadways, salted freeways, either wet or plowed freeways in many cases, and with not a great deal of extra accumulation, I think most of the afternoon and evening drive is looking way better than it did earlier this morning,” he said.
Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason spoke with our morning crew about the situation on the roads.
“It’s been challenging to say the best this morning for our snow plows,” he said. “We’re looking at tricky travel conditions all across the Wasatch Front.”
#Utah is covered in #snow plows! Give them space to work, and stay off the roads as long as you can so they can clear the snow. KSL will continue to cover this storm throughout the day. #utwx
🌧: @KSLweyman 🚘: @haleysmithKSL pic.twitter.com/25HMvM7qD1
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) February 6, 2019
He said that I-15 all the way down to the Cove Fort area has been challenging for drivers due to the severe weather.
“We have 550 plows statewide, and they’re out there doing the job, trying to make the roads as safe as possible,” Gleason said. “The biggest challenge right now that we’re hearing from our plow drivers is the blowing, gusting winds that are causing snow drifts.”
Those winds are adding more snow to roads that have already been plowed, and that has made for some treacherous conditions for motorists.
“If you have any flexibility, if you can call in a favor, today’s the day to do that,” he said. “We just want to keep everybody out of harm’s way. The plow drivers are out there doing everything they can to make our roads safe, but if you don’t have to be out there, there’s no sense in pushing it.”
Alert: If you have any flexibility with your schedule, or if you can work from home… today is the day. Please avoid driving this morning if possible. UDOT snow plows are out in force, but driving conditions remain difficult this morning. Please stay safe!
— John Gleason (@johnegleason) February 6, 2019
He said plows will be out all day removing and re-removing snow.
“This will be a huge effort statewide for the next 12 to even 24 hours,” he said.
He added that the safest place to be is 200 feet behind a snow plow — and never pass a plow.
“If you think you’re going slow enough, slow down even more,” Gleason said.
He said too many people have tried to pass snow plows without realizing there’s a wing blade on the side or they end up getting lost in the snow being pushed by the plow.
Thursday’s commute, with most of the storm having run its course, is expected to be much easier than Wednesday’s.
“By early tomorrow morning, (there) still could be a few lingering snow showers,” Weyman said. “I don’t think it’s a great deal of impact.”
He said the storm will most likely clear out by noon Thursday.
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