Thursday, June 30, 2016

Record Heat Prospects and Mountain Hail Encounters

With 29 days in the bag for the month, the average temperature at Salt Lake City for this June is 77.3ºF, just 0.2ºF behind 2015 for the hottest of all-time.

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
I've run some quick numbers using the last night's minimum temperature (74ºF) and the forecast maximum for the day (91ºF).  Those will bump this June up about .15ºF, which will put us very close to 2015 (and within the roundoff uncertainty of the monthly mean data I have access to, which is rounded off to the nearest tenth of a degree).  Much will depend on today's maximum and whether or not we get some dramatic cooling from precipitation to lower the minimum.  In either event, 2015 and 2016 will stand as back-to-back Junes of unusual warmth compared to past Junes in the historical record.

Meanwhile, here in the Northeast, yesterday was an "excursion" day at our conference, allowing us to get out into the Adirondack Mountains and climb Giant Mountain.  The day started out optimistically with partly cloudy skies.

The hike up Giant is short, about 2 3/4 miles, but involves about 3000 vertical feet of ascent up an extremely rugged Adirondack trail.

On the summit, we were treated to a nice view of the high peaks.

However, as we summited, we heard a low rumble of thunder and after a couple of minutes on top, it was clear we had to descend and descend fast.

After getting a few hundred vertical feet off the ridge, the skies opened up, initially with rain, but eventually with a deluge of pea-sized hail.

Here's a handful.

Steep Adirondack trails are nasty enough when dry, but even tricker when wet and covered with ball bearings of ice.  We also encountered quite a bit of "hail fog," a shallow fog mainly in the canopy layer due to cooling from melting ice.

Due to the retreat, our group photo was taken about half way down, after things dried out and the camera partially defogged.

Just another day of adventure with the Steenburgh group.


  1. Sounds like another great adventure for the Steenburgh Studs. Wish I could have been there. Hope the conference is going well

  2. What a way to end a mountain wx conference! My old stomping grounds (worked for WFO Burlington). Nice hikes, hopefully the pea sized hail knocked out the biting black bugs (lol).

    1. Bugs haven't been bad at all. Very strange and unusual. Black fly season is over, but even the mosquitoes have been tolerable.