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UDOT crews struggle to keep Logan Canyon clear during arctic storm

Dec 21, 2022, 6:56 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2022, 9:13 am

LOGAN, Utah — Snow drifts up to five feet deep and overall low visibility are blamed for closures in Logan Canyon for most of Wednesday.

Crews from the Utah Department of Transportation and state troopers worked in challenging conditions to keep the area safe.

UDOT crews were able to get the road open Wednesday morning but within a couple of hours, it was closed again.

U.S. Highway 89 remained closed overnight.

“It’s totally impassible right now,” trooper Phil Rawlinson said.

The weather at the summit made visibility almost impossible — even snowplows wouldn’t be able to drive through that.

“We have one trooper that’s still up there from the day shift that can’t get through…to come back home,” Rawlinson said.

A lot of people still braved the conditions to enjoy some fresh powder.

Between the falling and drifting snow, sometimes as high as five feet, many drivers got the message, slow was the way to go through Logan Canyon.

“I was a bit intense coming up here. My heart was racing on the drive up. The girls were crying,” C.J. Jackson joked with her young passengers.

Caution was the key for her group and many others on their way to Beaver Mountain.

“It was good. We handled it really good,” Jackson said. “I’m kind of impressed honestly. I was worried about sliding off the road.”’

Those who made that trek through the snow enjoyed what they found.

“Pretty windy up top,” said Skier Jack Crockett. “But it was fun. Lots of powder.”

His friend Ryker Lott agreed, “Yeah, super crackalackin’. We had a lot of fun. Just a good day.”

For others, it was just one more challenge to get home. “It sucks. I hate it,” said trucker Clint Tobert. He had to chain up to head down the canyon as he left for Missouri. “I’m hoping to make it at least across Wyoming today, but I don’t know. The way things are going now, who knows,” he wondered.

Tobert had reason to fret. As bad as the conditions were at Beaver Creek, Wyoming, is in for a heck of a storm.

Southwestern Wyoming could see temperatures of -35 degrees in the next day or two.

Meteorologists say these cold winds could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Uinta County emergency managers said they were prepared with shelters for anybody who might need to get out of the cold.

Back at Logan Canyon, UDOT plows were busy throughout the day to keep that open stretch safe while digging out the rest of U.S. 89.

If you must be out in this storm, be patient.

Jackson said, “Do good and be safe. Take care of others. Be the person that makes sure they get there safe.”

Crews did not have to respond to many crashes. The ones they saw were minor.

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UDOT crews struggle to keep Logan Canyon clear during arctic storm