The afternoon sounding from the Salt Lake City International Airport sets the stage. With daytime surface heating and abundant atmospheric and soil moisture, the surface-based convective available potential energy (CAPE, a theoretical measure of the amount of energy a parcel of air would have if lifted vertically) was 2277 J/kg, a remarkably high value for northern Utah. Mixing out the shallow surface layer gives lower values, but this is a sounding consistent with deep convection and strong updrafts.
|KMTX 0.5º Radar Reflectivity at 0046 UTC (1846 MDT) 12 June|
|KMTX 0.5º Radar Reflectivity at 0259 UTC (0859 MDT) 12 June|
Intrepid University of Utah storm chaser Sara Bang tweeted the photo below showing golf-ball sized hail that she intercepted along I-80.
Based on the time of her tweet, the hail was likely produced by the storm in the radar images above, which eventually produced 1.5 inch diameter hail in Willard and Perry as it crossed I-15 near Willard Bay.20 minutes after it fell, just off exit 62 off I-80 west @NWSSaltLakeCity pic.twitter.com/wDvFtqMO8q— Sarah Bang (@Bang_Wx) June 13, 2016
The Salt Lake Valley got some hail as well, although the largest report I saw was dime sized. The storm that produced the hail was well-developed, with the visual characteristics of a weak mesocyclone. From my house in the Avenues, looking southwest toward the southern Oquirrhs, the storm featured a well-developed wall cloud, characterized by a locally low cloud base, and a precipitation shaft consistent with the forward-flank downdraft.
I'm no convective storm chaser, so feel free to comment on this interpretation. The anvil trained off downstream and produced some mammatus over the University of Utah.
More storms are likely today. Although the shear is less favorable for such strong storms, the CAPE looks to be high. Keep an eye to the sky and an ear out for watches and warnings as discerning between thunderstorms and severe thunderstorms is notoriously difficult in our part of the world.