Similarly, this morning teased us with an ominous sky, virga, and even some mammatus clouds.
Just how dry has it been this summer? Well, August 31 is in the books and we can now take a look back at all of meteorological summer (June, July, and August). Total rainfall at the Salt Lake City airport was 0.67", making it the 11th driest all time.
To put that into perspective, the histogram below shows the amount of precipitation falling in Salt Lake City by year back to 1874 ordered from high to low (I've left the years off since there are so many). 2016 is highlighted in red. Yes, there have been drier summers, but the amount of water in the rain bucket this year is quite low and in the 10% driest summers.
For temperature, we fell just shy of the hottest of all time (behind 2013), but ended up 2nd and a full degree warmer than the next highest summer, 2007.
|Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers|
In the foothills, most of the grasses turn brown during the summer, but this year one sees gamble oak and other species highly stressed with browning leaves. Near the mouth of Dry Creek just northeast of campus, where most plants survive for the summer, everything appears to be dead.
Although we may get lucky with a shower or thunderstorm today (or unlucky if it happens during the football game), we need things to turn around quickly or we are going to be entering the cool season with a huge deficit in soil moisture. If we have a big snow season (wouldn't that be grand), that won't be a problem, but if we have another meager year, it will cut into the runoff as the first "reservoir" to be filled when the snow starts to melt is the soil.
At least cooler weather is on the way. Looking forward to it.
Plot of summer precipitation @KSLC chronologically by year added below at request of commenter.