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High Temperatures Dash High Hopes For Holiday Skiing; Weather Shift Possible Soon

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Screenshot from Brighton's webcam.
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Brighton was one of three Utah ski resorts that stayed open through the Thanksgiving weekend with a 21 inch base reported on Sunday.

Utah often has skiing weather by Thanksgiving. But this year it’s been closer to shorts weather, thanks to unusually high temperatures that dragged on even into the final week of the month.

“Temperatures have been well above normal,” says Mark Struthwolf, a National Weather Service forecaster. “Looks like we will break a record for the month of November for warm temperatures.”

Struthwolf points out that daily temperature records were expected to topple statewide over the weekend. And, even in the mountains, temperatures have stayed unusually high – too high for the ski resorts to make snow.

Snowbird opened Wednesday, then closed because of the warmth. Three other resorts  stuck it out through the weekend, but they weren’t running many chairlifts.

A little rain is forecasted for the week ahead, and temperatures are expected to drop to normal levels, just as three more resorts are scheduled to open. But Struthwolf’s looking out a little farther.

“There is some promise on the horizon,” he says. “That would be this coming weekend, Sunday into Monday.”

That’s when the pattern looks likely to make bigger changes, he says.

More precipitation would be especially welcome. That’s because Salt Lake City’s had less than half of its usual rain and snow since the “water year” began in October.

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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