Climatologists: Utah gradually getting less snow, more rain

Feb 19, 2018, 7:33 PM | Updated: 9:04 pm

Kid enjoy sledding hill in Logan...

Kid enjoy sledding hill in Logan

LOGAN – If the last 30 to 40 years are any indication, Utah’s challenges with the water supply for the spring are likely to continue in coming years. In addition, our very snowy season a year ago may prove to be more of a rarity, according to climatologists at the Utah Climate Center, located on the Utah State University campus.

“[It was a] really unusual amount of snowfall that we got,” Climatologist John Meyer said. “When you really dig underneath that a little bit, the pattern itself didn’t really bring a greater frequency of storms, but the storms we did receive last year were really extreme.”

Last year’s larger storms were brought in by what are called atmospheric rivers, or more commonly, pineapple express events, Meyer explained.

Climatologist John Meyer says Utah on gradual trend toward less mountain snowpack

“These events are really a high-moisture-laden air that makes it’s way from the Central Pacific in really narrow bands,” he said. “It’s a river of really humid air.”

In contrast, unusual circumstances are bringing a very different winter this year.

“The jet stream has been shifted farther to the north,” Meyer explained. “Our storm track has been pushed away, and out of Utah’s influence.”

It’s all the more reason to enjoy the snow while we have it. Monday, at Utah State University’s Old Main Hill, crowds of people were taking advantage of the snowy day by sledding.

“It’s awesome to finally get a snowstorm,” Madi Evans said, a student from Washington state. “It’s a mild winter. It’s been boring.”

Friends Justin Cook (left), Madi Evans (center) and Madison Perkins (right) enjoy President’s Day snowfall

Looking at the larger picture, however, Meyer said climatologists have noticed a more concerning pattern over the last several decades, which seems indicative of climate change.

“We’re seeing snow levels ascending up the mountains,” he explained. “Where we’re getting snow packs is decreasing, so we’re getting less and less snow in the valleys and lower elevations.”

In addition, Meyer said the cold seasons are generally shorter, consisting of more rain and less snow. While our current winter, so far, hasn’t been spectacular, he’s still holding out hope for the coming weeks.

“We’re not out of our, sort of our negative story for the season,” he said. “But we’ve certainly not had a good season so far.”


Amid hundreds of snowy slide-offs, do this, not that

Plan B: Sled instead of ski

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(Jenni Hoskins)...

Eliza Pace

Semitruck crashes in Garden City

GARDEN CITY, Utah — A semitruck has crashed through several garages in Garden City according to the Rich County Sheriff’s Department. The crash occurred at 18 North Lakeside Drive, a place other trucks have crashed previously.   Footage from witnesses showed the truck barreling through several garages. It is not known if anyone was injured […]

20 hours ago

Diane Carpenter pictured with her granddaughter, 17-year-old Kandis Harris, who has been missing si...

Shara Park

Family desperate for answers in search for missing teen, offering $30k reward

The family of a missing Tooele teen is now offering a $30K reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

20 hours ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Erin Cox

Survivor’s relief after UT Supreme Court affirms former USU athlete’s rape convictions

After nearly a decade of seeking justice, one survivor said she finally has some closure.

20 hours ago

Snowbasin moving snow...

Mike Anderson

Snowbasin moving snow to prepare for summer recreation

Some Utah ski resorts, like Snowbasin are moving snow to make way for their summer season, thanks to our record-breaking snowpack.

20 hours ago

Bear trap...

Carter Williams, KSL.com 

Utah wildlife officials set up traps, signs after bear encounter above Bountiful

Utah wildlife officials have set up traps in a canyon above Bountiful after a man reported a bear encounter at a campsite in the canyon early Thursday.

20 hours ago

FILE - Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2020. An Idaho ju...

Eliza Pace

Trial date set for Chad Daybell

A date has been set for the long-awaited trial of Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow Daybell's husband.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Climatologists: Utah gradually getting less snow, more rain