Friday, August 3, 2012

Uinta Dreams

Granddaddy Mountain, Uinta Mountains, June 2007
There's nothing like a trip to the cool climate of the Uinta Mountains during the dog days of summer.  Today or tomorrow are the days to do it.  The Uintas see frequent thunderstorms in the summer, but we have a remarkably dry airmass in place.  The GFS analysis shows precipitable water values less than 10 mm across northern Utah, which is quite low for this time of year.

At KSLC, current precipitable water values are the lowest they have been in at least a week.

Finally, this dry air should remain over the area on Saturday  The GFS calls for precipitable water (upper left hand panel) to remain near or below 12.5 mm (0.5 inches) through Saturday afternoon.

I've learned never to discount the chance of a thunderstorm in the Uintas during summer, but the odds for today and tomorrow are as low as they get.  I'll keep an eye to the sky just in case, but it looks like we're in for a couple of days where we won't be dodging bolts.  Scattered thunderstorms may be back in the Uintas on Sunday, however, as some moisture bleeds in from the south.


  1. I have tried for a long time to figure out why some areas are such hot spots for thunderstorms, and the Uintas are definitely one of these places. The Oquirrhs/Stansburys are another (especially the area around the south end of the Oquirrhs), as are the mountains to the north and northwest of the Great Salt Lake along the northern Utah border. I have ideas why some of these places are so good for storm development, but no particular theory that really explains them well. These same areas seem to be favored almost regardless of wind direction.

  2. I have always thought the east/west layout of the Uintas was a magnet for weather. Sun-clouds -rain-hail -lightning-sun, all in one hour. Lots of fun.

    1. I agree. The east-west orientation results in a broad area of strong sun exposure on the southern side. The Uinta Range also provides a lot of orographic lift especially in southerly monsoonal flow.