Wet, cool August delivered more than twice the average Salt Lake rainfall

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Deseret News

Published: Sat, Aug. 30, 2014, 3:10 p.m. MDT

 A tram heads back down the mountain Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

A tram heads back down the mountain Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — If downtown Salt Lake City felt like Seattle these last few weeks, it wasn't just your imagination.

The monsoonal season that kicked in at the first part of the month was later punctuated by a cold, wet storm system that delivered more than twice the average rainfall at the Salt Lake City International Airport in August.

"Some areas of the state had even more rain, as much as 200 to 400 percent of normal," said Brian McInerney, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

Monica Traphagan, a meteorologist with the weather service, said 1.77 inches of rain fell in August at the airport, compared to the average of 069 inches.

This month may have felt really wet compared to August of 2013, which was drier than normal and only received 0.16 inches of rain, she added.

"So we had one year where it was well below normal and one year where it was well above normal," she said.

The rainy weather has been accompanied by cooler temperatures, with highs that have been about four degrees below average.

Until the latter part of the month, she said, the low temperatures hovered around average at just shy of 63 degrees and then the cold system sent some nights plunging lower, mimicking those fall storms.

KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman said the atypical August may very well shape up to be the coolest and wettest on record in Salt Lake City. Other records could shatter in St. George, where he said the temperatures look to be the coolest in 25 years and the rainfall could top a 30-decade high.

The wet pattern duplicates much of what Utah's Dixie experienced last year, when McInerney said July, August and September produced record flooding.

While the rainfall isn't helping much with the overall water supply — that chiefly comes from melting snowpack in the spring — it has been a welcome change, McInerney said.

"We are so used to these hot, dry summers that when we do get a nice rain like we have had this year, we definitely notice," he said.

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

1. Orem Parent
Orem, UT,
Aug. 31, 2014

Of course they have to throw in how the extra rain really doesn't help with the water supply. Nonsense. Every bit helps. The ground being saturated during fall is a key to having good runoff in the spring. The more water we get into the ground right now plays a huge factor in next year's supply.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this cool, wet August. Let's keep it going!

2. Sven
Morgan, UT,
Aug. 31, 2014

Seventeen years of NO warming, and now this. The Warmers have got to be devastated.

3. Gildas
Aug. 31, 2014

I make that two and a half times the average. I am still puzzling how that means we have no more water, unless "powers that be" are diverting the water supply or have small reservoirs.

4. Wixom
Bountiful, UT,
Aug. 31, 2014

Gildas: The reason is that the August rains are small compared to the snow we receive during the winter and much of the low elevation rain gets used by plants or is evaporated away. Orem Parent explained the value of the August and fall rains well.

5. Uncle_Fester
Niskayuna, NY,
Aug. 31, 2014

It's all global warming, the perfect hypothesis, when it's warm it's because of warming, when it's cold it's because of warming. The next ice age will be brought on by global warming.