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Monsoon's No-Show Leaves Utah Very Hot, Dry

Judy Fahys
Summer monsoons have been a virtual no-show this year in Utah -- especially in northern parts of the state.

The last week of July is normally Utah’s hottest, but the pattern lately stands out. The National Weather Service has reported nine days in a row when temperatures reached 100 degrees or above. That’s one day shy of the longest run ever. The weather service also reported three weeks straight of temperatures 95 degrees or higher – the all-time longest.

“We’ve had a pretty anomalously hot and dry stretch,” says Randy Graham, meteorologist-in-charge at the Weather Services’ Salt Lake City office.

The National Climate Data Center has been keeping track of temperature trends for more than a century.

  Forecasters say there’s a decent chance of thunderstorms midweek in much of Utah. But then the unusually warm, dry weather is expected to return.

Graham says there’s also been very little precipitation – especially in northern Utah where the monsoon rains and cooling clouds have been in short supply.

“This year we just haven’t ever been able to get the really deep moisture all the way up into northern Utah for any length of time,” he says. “And right now it doesn’t look very encouraging going forward the next couple of weeks that we are going to have any prolonged periods of moisture.”

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reports that Utah had little precipitation in July, about half an inch. And soil moisture is even lower this summer than last. Reservoirs in Enterprise, Sevier Bridge, Piute, Scofield, Woodruff Creek and Gunnison are very low. Good news in the water picture can be found along Utah’s eastern edge and in southern parts of the state, where precipitation since October has been nearly normal or better.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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