We are stuck in summer mode here in Utah. Record or near-record temps have been the order of business for the past week or more in Northern Utah. Not much in the way of storms to give us a shot to cool off either. Mountain bike trails are about as dusty and dry as they get. Wildfires are raging across the west and smoke in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Northern Utah is thick. It feels like one of the nine circles of hell out there.
The good news is that we will see a cool down this weekend into next week with some chances for thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. The bad news is that when you’re near record temps, a cool down in this case really only means dropping to about average. 80s in the valley with 60s in the high mountains. I’ve been watching model runs and we’ve occasionally seen runs flirt with the idea of stronger troughs in the 7-10 day range. However, these seem to be fleeting ideas that are gone by the next run of the model. Eventually, one of these ideas will stick and we will see a more fall-like system move into the area and really cool us down. At this point, it’s hard to say when that will be. Probably during the second half of September.
Attention of the weather world is now on Hurricane Irma which is pushing through the northern Leeward Islands towards the southern tip of Florida. The hurricane is extremely powerful with maximum sustained winds of 185mph (Category 5+). The storm should continue heading west, passing just north of Puerto Rico and the eastern side of Cuba. Then, it should take a sharp turn north.
Lots of uncertainty, but it could hit south Florida, or it could parallel the coast before making landfall in Georgia or the Carolinas.
Bottom Line: Folks near the coast from the Florida Keys up the east coast to North Carolina should make preparations and keep a close watch on Irma. It is a very dangerous storm.
As always, I’ll continue to watch for signs of change. I’ve been active on Twitter (@WasatchSnow) lately musing about models and hurricanes — so if you want more frequent updates, give us a follow there.