Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Near Record Temperatures Valley Dwellers Won't Feel

It is really warm out there.  In fact, only rarely has Salt Lake City ever seen temperatures like this.  No, not on the valley floor, but above the valley cold pool in and above the inversion where temperatures are near all-time highs for January.

As can be seen in the sounding below, we have a whopper of an inversion over the Salt Lake Valley today.  The surface temperature when the sounding was taken was -1.7ºC, but at upper levels, they were much warmer, including a +6.0ºC at 700 mb (about 10,000 feet).

Source: SPC
That's a very warm temperature for January.  Below is a graph showing the climatology of 700-mb temperatures from weather balloons launched from either Ogden or the Salt Lake City airport since the 1940s.  Yeah, it's a really busy graph, but let me explain.  The noisy black line shows the average 700-mb temperature observation time during the year, with the corresponding smooth black line a smooth representation of it.  The noisy blue line is the record low 700-mb temperature, and the noisy red line the record high 700-mb temperature.

Source: SPC
What can be seen from the graph above is that 700-mb temperatures above 5ºC are rare in January, and the all time highest 700-mb temperature for the month is 7.2ºC.  The previous record for the morning (1200 UTC/0500 MST) of 7 January was 4.2ºC, so we have a new record this morning, although valley dwellers won't feel it.

Mountain dwellers, however, are going to experience an exceptionally warm January day.  In fact, AT 8 AM MST THIS MORNING, IT WAS ALREADY 39ºF ON THE TOP OF MT. BALDY AT 11,000 FEET!

If you are skiing today, you will experience some of the warmest January temperatures on record.


  1. The Utah DEQ site at Hawthorne school Shows 45. 2.5, solidly in the unhealthy side. The Trax mobile site shows 54+ just a point below unheathy for all (1800 hrs slc). The Trax shows a lot more of the lower valley.....looks like we are in for a bad one.