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Avalanches, snow, ice cause hectic night on major Wasatch Back roads

Wasatch County Sheriff's Office
An avalanche buried U.S. 40 in approximately 25 feet of snow in Daniel Canyon Friday night, the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office reported.

Friday night was messy and stormy in the Wasatch Back, with some locals reporting worse conditions than they had seen on local roads before.

During the storm, two highways in Wasatch County closed due to avalanches.

After Provo Canyon did so during the afternoon, the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office reported another avalanche in Daniel Canyon, burying U.S. Highway 40 in 25 feet of snow at about 9 p.m. It happened near Clegg’s Canyon, about 10 miles south of Heber City.

Authorities reported the highway reopened to traffic traveling both directions within an hour.

On Interstate 80 through Parleys Canyon, what began as heavy rain turned into thick snow, combining for slippery roads when temperatures dipped below freezing.

Images shared to social media showed heavy snow and ice on the roads, and traction devices were required a little before 8 p.m. Multiple commenters said it took them as much as two hours to drive from Park City to the Salt Lake Valley, with traffic reaching a standstill near Parleys Summit for long delays.

Saturday morning, cold temperatures preserved the wintry conditions. UDOT reported two crashes on I-80 eastbound near the quarry within 10 minutes just before 8 a.m. Just up the road, the interstate between the summit and Kimball Junction was rough with hard, frozen snow patches.

Also Saturday morning, UDOT reported two crashes on Highway 189 eastbound near Deer Creek Reservoir. One happened just before 10 a.m. and the other just after.

Friday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., an avalanche in Provo Canyon also closed U.S. Highway 189 in both directions. The Utah Department of Transportation reported it was doing controlled avalanche work in the area between Vivian and Canyon Glen Parks Friday at the time.

While crews originally estimated it would take 24 hours to clean up and reopen the road, UDOT announced drivers could return Saturday around 7 a.m. Overnight, it shared video footage of excavators and loaders scooping and moving snow piled higher than the construction machines themselves.

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