Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day Six and Summer Three of Oppressive Heat

The National Weather Service reports this afternoon that we've hit 100ºF this afternoon, marking the sixth straight day with temperatures reaching 100 or greater.

If you are keeping score at home, the highs are 102, 105, 102, 103, 104 and at least 100 today.  Three of those tied or broke record highs for the day.

I thought about backpacking this weekend, but the temperatures were simply too high, even in the Uintas.  I did hike up Snowbird today, and it was probably the most uncomfortable trek to the tram that I can remember.  It was not only hot, but there was also little wind, even on the ridge.

The snowpack has taken a beating the past couple of weeks.  For as much snow as there was in the Wasatch in late May, there's really not much left.

June through August is supposed to be hot, but this is not normal.  Over the past three years the period from 1 June through 8 July has been exceptionally warm at the Salt Lake City International Airport, rating as the 3 hottest such periods on record.  The summer so far this year is actually a shade behind the previous two years, although the difference is just 0.2ºF.

A very slight cool down is on tap for tomorrow, possibly breaking our streak of triple digit highs, but the extended range forecast remains pessimistic for any significant relief for northern Utah.  We got some thunderstorms in the Salt Lake Valley last night, and there's always the hope of such storms popping up or a monsoon surge sneaking in, but by and large, the forecast simply looks hot and uncomfortable.

Once again, for your entertainment purposes I provide below the 10-day forecast from the weather channel.



  1. Any thoughts on whether the clouds and light rain we've seen the past few days are the beginning of the Monsoon. I read over your Monsoon discussion from two years ago

    The "canonical feature" is a "seasonal easterly flow" over Mexico from high pressure over Texas. Are we seeing that now, what sources provide the data (maps of 500 mb flow etc.) we would need to understand what's going on.

  2. Peter:

    There is no universally accepted definition of the start of the monsoon and not all years have a well defined one. In addition, the monsoon signal in northern Utah is often quite weak.

    Although we have seen some circulation changes consistent with the transition to the monsoon, my take is that the showers we've had the past couple of days are not an indication that we are moving into a cooler, wetter period. Scattered afternoon thunderstorms may be possible each day over the next week or so, and they might provide a temporary respite, but for the most part, the pattern simply looks hot. Maybe farther out we can get a major monsoon surge into the region.

    Perhaps I'll dig deeper into this issue in the coming days.