Emergency managers urge preparedness as forecasters say extreme cold is expected for northern Utah

Jan 5, 2024, 10:21 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2024, 10:08 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency managers were urging people on Friday to take winter seriously and to be prepared as forecasters warned of the potential for extreme cold to reach northern Utah by the middle of January.

“Anything below freezing, minus-18 windchill, it’s dangerous outside,” said Utah Division of Emergency Management spokesman Wade Mathews. “If you’re working outside, limit exposures to no more than 30 minutes. Take breaks to go in and get warm.”

The words of caution came as significant snow fell across some areas of the Wasatch Front, and as forecasters said, computer models showed extreme cold was possible beginning on Jan. 14.

KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank said under the most extreme model, the highs in Salt Lake City were projected to dip to 5 degrees on Jan. 14 and 1 degree on Jan. 15, with lows well into negative territory on those days.

He said it’s a 50/50 chance this could happen.

“The extreme potential is sub-zero temperatures even in the valleys,” Eubank said. “I don’t know if we’re going to get there yet.”

Regardless, he said significantly colder temperatures were very likely to unfold, as well as a handful of snow storms over the next two weeks.

Accordingly, Mathews urged people to keep extra flashlights, batteries, provisions, blankets and medications handy in cars when traveling.

He also encouraged people to wear multiple layers of clothing — including a base layer of polyester of nylon or wool, an intermediate layer of fleece or wool, and then an outer layer that is water-repellant and wind-resistant.

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Emergency managers urge preparedness as forecasters say extreme cold is expected for northern Utah