Thursday, August 4, 2016

Return to Nuclear Summer

After a week in the cooler but muggier confines of upstate NY, I returned late last night to Utah.  It appears that I missed the worst of "nuclear summer" while I was out of town.  Yesterday's high of 95ºF broke a string of 9 consecutive days with a maximum temperature of 100ºF or higher, which ties for the 2nd longest stretch of 100ºF days at the airport, falling just short of the record of 10 set in 2003.

Don't be disappointed thought.  The streak of 95ºF or higher days reached 21, which I believe is a new record, eclipsing the 20 consecutive days observed in 1960 and 1978.  It looks likely that streak will also end today thanks to a weak overnight trough passage, which ushered in a shallow, but somewhat cooler airmass, along with extensive smoke.

In case you are wondering, the summer to date (June 1 - Aug 4) is 0.6ºF warmer than any other comparable period on record.

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
Time will tell if the entire summer (June–August) will be one for the record books, but looking at the extended range forecasts, I think we have a pretty good shot unless we see a major pattern shift in the latter half of the month.


  1. How do we stand re: precipitation records? Seems like about a dry a period as I can remember in the last decade.

  2. I was up in the Uintas yesterday, and a lot of the trees are dying from drought. Not just the pines (which have suffered from pine beetles over the last 20+ years) but now some of the aspen groves are brown as well. Definitely need some rain.

  3. The Aspen browning and die off seems to have accelerated in recent years. Aspens in the lower elevations around park city have been severely affected. There is a good bit of research out there related to to Aspen mortality. Recent work has shown that aspens are more sensitive to the warmer/dryer atmosphere sucking increased water from leaf stomata vs. simply a lack of rain and soil moisture. In any case, parts if our area could look much different in even a handful of years.