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Freak storm in Layton almost exactly a century ago halted transportation

Article Published 02/24/2017


Layton City and the entire region has experienced unusually high amounts of snowfall this winter. However, just barely over 100 years ago, Layton and “All Utah (was) gripped in freak storm,” according to a Salt Lake Tribune headline of Feb. 21, 1917.
Not only was an early thaw threatening flooding in parts of Utah, but the snowdrifts along the railroad tracks on Layton’s north end were so deep that a work crew of two hundred men – a virtual army -- had to attack the drifts by hand with shovels. Snow plows were considered useless for the conditions and even heavy locomotives couldn’t get through without help.
Many travelers were marooned in Ogden, unable to reach Salt Lake City. Many basements were flooded and high winds and drifting snow also made travel difficult. There were also many snowslides in Weber Canyon, closing the railroad there too.
-Just 11 years prior, in October of 1906, Layton City had been the focal point of another weather disaster. According to the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of Oct. 22 that year, the headline was “200 poles down in vicinity of Layton.”
High winds had knocked the several hundred power poles down between Layton and Kaysville. Power crews could only travel to Farmington because of the high winds and had to walk north to Layton from there. By noon, the repair gang had reported not being able to do any work due to the wind gusts.
Meanwhile, much of the population from Layton south to portions of Salt Lake City were without electrical power, until the poles were repaired.