The Death of Summer?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 9:43 am


After weeks of above average temperatures, Utah will finally drop below normal as a fall-like trough moves through the area late this week into the weekend.  A chance for another trough middle of next week.  Cooler temperatures and chances for high elevation snow likely!


It’s been a hot summer.  No doubt about it.  The SLC Airport recorded its hottest summer ever in terms of mean temperature.  Here is our summer summed up in one temperature graph.

The ‘brown’ area indicates the normal temperature range.  The blue bars are the observed temp range for each day.  You can see that way more days than not had daily maximums above average and we only had a few days with minimums at or below normal.  Needless to say, most of us are more than ready for this summer to be over.

Good news! The end just might be near!  If you follow us on social media, you’ll know that about a week ago I started tracking a potential pattern change.  We’ve seen a few of these over the past few weeks show up in the models and then disappear in subsequent model runs.  This change, however, stuck around.  The high pressure over the west that brought oppressive heat in the Western US to start September broke down and is rebuilding well off the Pacific coast.  This type of pattern allows troughs to drop down out of the north and northwest.  A fairly typical way for us to see our first cool temps and chances for snow.

Sure enough, we’ll have a trough drop down into the area over the next few days with a reinforcing, cooler trough for the weekend.  A good chance this trough will tap into a bit of monsoonal moisture and we could see widespread showers and decent rainfall over the Wasatch Front with chances for rain statewide.  Here is a look at current QPF potential.

If this were mid-winter, it could be a healthy storm.  But it’s not, and therefore snow levels will start out very high and will slowly lower to 8-9000 feet by the weekend.  Therefore, we’ll probably just see a dusting for the high elevations with maybe a few inches way up top.  Here’s the same model, but just for snowfall rather than all precip types:

The Uintas, due to their higher elevation, could see the most snowfall.  Even the U of U’s plumes for GEFS ensembles are showing potential for a few inches in the Upper Cottonwoods:

For those of you who will claim early snow will mean a weak base layer — don’t fret, I doubt this snow will stick around for long.  It’s only the big dumps in mid-October that sit and rot that worry me for that.


After this week’s system, it looks like we have a bit of a break late in the weekend into early next week with temps warming again.  Then, perhaps another trough could affect the region middle of next week (Sept 20-22).  We’ll have to watch that since it’s quite a ways out still.  It’s getting to that time of year where the leaves are changing, there’s a crisp chill in the morning air, and dustings of snow are possible on the mountain tops.  The time of year where you can wear a sweater in the morning, only to regret it in the afternoon.


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