Rural Utah town can’t keep up with recent heavy snowfall

Mar 7, 2023, 5:19 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

HUNTSVILLE, Utah — As Utah experiences snow storms that haven’t been seen in years, some smaller towns and those in them are struggling to keep up.

“This is the fun part,” said JR Johansen as he began clearing snow from his roof with a long pole and blade. “You can get hit pretty good with some of this stuff coming off.”

It has been the kind of winter Johansen says reminds him of the good old days.

“I loved to play in it when I was a kid,” he said with a laugh.

However, now that he is an adult, he is more concerned about his roof and the weight of all the snow from recent snowstorms.

“They can really create havoc,” Johansen said.

JR Johansen clearing off the snow from his roof. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson)

Johansen lives in Huntsville, Utah, and the town has been hit hard this winter with snow. So far, close to 140 inches of snow has buried the small town.

Clearing driveways and walking paths has become a part-time job that doesn’t come with health insurance.

“I even have a good snow shovel,” Johansen said with another laugh. “I was probably throwing 8-to-15 pounds of snow each time I was throwing it and twisting, and voila! I hurt my back.”

He’s doing better now, thanks to help from his daughter and son-in-law clearing snow out of his driveway.

With the winter so far, many people have needed help clearing snow. In fact, Huntsville itself has needed help.

“We have had some help from Weber County because of the roads and all the snow,” explained Bruce Ahlstrom, a Huntsville town councilman. “Then it melts, and it gets icy and hard, the snowbanks, you can’t move them.”

A car buried in the snow. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) A construction sign for a home buried in snow. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) A construction sign for a home buried in snow. (KSLTV/Alex Cabrero Snow piles from the road. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) Snow piles from the road. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) Snow sitting on the roof of a shed. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) A snowman and a stop sign. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson) The Huntsville Town Offices buried with snow. (KSLTV/Alex Cabrero)

Plus, the town is running out of room to put all the snow. Snowbanks are higher than cars in many places. All that snow leads to one-lane roads and cautious peaking around those snowbanks at stop signs.

“It has been a really rough winter,” Ahlstrom said. “But we will get through it. We know most of each other, and we help each other out when needed. That’s the benefit of living in a small town like Huntsville.”

Utahns all know we need the snow and water. We also know spring might mean even more work because of all the snow. Many counties are already planning for floods and filling sandbags.

“Sandbagging is just about as bad as throwing snow,” Johansen said with another laugh. “Let spring come. I’m ready for it. But let it come slowly.”

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Rural Utah town can’t keep up with recent heavy snowfall