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Utah Daily Snow

Summer Update IV


August began with some excitement as strong thunderstorms impacted the region. However, things are calming down for now with mostly dry weather for the foreseeable future.

Short Term Forecast

We are now well beyond the hump, which means that climatically-speaking, the hottest days of the summer should be behind us.  Of course, it's not impossible to see some major heatwaves late in August and even early September -- so we can't rule it out.  Right now, it looks like temps will be a bit cooler to start this week, then warming back up to near triple digits along the Wasatch Front for the middle of this week, then cooling back down for next weekend again.  I'm okay with the weekends being a bit cooler.  

August certainly started with some excitement.  We had several days with thunderstorms statewide.  Last Sunday (8/4) we had a thunderstorm roll into the Salt Lake Valley during the late evening hours. I saw the storm coming on the radar and noticed there were lots of lightning strikes.  I decided to head up to the BST above Hidden Valley Park so I could get a good view of the entire valley and try to get some photos of lightning.  I ended up with the below photo: 

Technique: This photo was taken using approximately a 2-minute exposure.  f5.6 and ISO 100.  I used an ND filter to limit the light with such a long exposure.  As I was taking this photo, I was giddy with excitement as one strike after another lit up the Oquirrhs.  I knew it would be good, but it wasn't until I got home and put it on my computer did I realize how lucky I was.  

I have had many requests for prints of the image. If you would like to purchase a print of this photo (or any other photo), you can do so here: https://wasatchsnowforecast.zenfolio.com/p162401838/ed35b812d

Just click on "Visit Store" and you can get whatever type of print you'd like.  

The other major local impact of these storms was on Thursday (8/8) when a strong line of storms moved into the Wasatch Front.  The big impact from these storm were the impressive rainfall rates.  I picked up 0.70" of rain in less than 20 minutes.  I think the majority of that fell in under 10 minutes.  I have a creek that runs thru my backyard and had a decent amount of erosion damage from the waters.  It was the highest and fastest I've seen that creek flow in 3.5 years living here.  The biggest impacts, however, were felt in local canyons where the insane rainfall rates were too much for the ground to handle and led to numerous mudslides.  The worst of these slides occurred in Little Cottonwood Canyon where as many as 5 mudslides covered the road.  One report said the debris was 15-feet deep in places.  The road was closed for almost two days as crews worked round-the-clock to clear and fix the road.  

I drove up LCC yesterday evening and was astonished by the impacts, some really impressive debris fields above the road were you can tell that tons of dirt and rock tore down the mountain.  

After all that excitement, we are now entering a calm period.  We should be mostly dry for the next week or so.  We will probably see additional surges of moisture later this month, but for now we have a break.  

Extended Forecast

Still not much news for the upcoming winter.  There are some really warm temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska (similar to the "blob" years), not sure how that will impact our winter patterns, but it is worth watching.  Not much going on with ENSO (El Nino/La Nina). 

In other news, today (8/11) is the 20th anniversary of the infamous Salt Lake City tornado in 1999.  Here is a graphic courtesy of SLC NWS office: 

I wasn't living in Utah at the time, but I remember it on the news.  I know many of you who were living here have stories from that day.  Certainly a very rare event that we will likely never see again.  

Evan | OpenSnow

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