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Snow in August? Storm brushes Utah's higher elevations; local rain records fall

Snow falls at Snowbird resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday.

Snow falls at Snowbird resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday. (Snowbird resort)

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LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — No, you aren't imagining it. That's actually snow in Utah's mountains — in August.

Snowbird Resort, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, tweeted photos Thursday morning of modest snowfall — especially rare for August standards — as a result of the cold front passing through Utah this week. Utah Department of Transportation traffic cameras also picked up light snow in the High Uintas and other mountainous areas Thursday morning.

National Weather Service meteorologists said snow and "fall-like" temperatures are expected in areas above 9,000 feet Thursday with the trough that entered the state. Alta, also in the Cottonwood Canyons, had a forecasted high in the low 40s Thursday, according to the weather service.

The storm, which has delivered plenty of rain and, yes, smoke, cooled temperatures significantly across the state during what has been an otherwise hot summer. Some record-low temperatures were reported elsewhere in Utah Thursday, including 51 degrees in Bullfrog, by Lake Powell — snapping the record-low of 57 degrees set in 1972.

Wednesday's high topped out at 76 degrees at the weather service's Salt Lake City International Airport station, 21 degrees cooler than the high on Tuesday. Salt Lake City's average temperature also dropped from 84 degrees Tuesday to 65 on Wednesday, according to weather service data. Wednesday was also about 15 degrees cooler than the average temperature this month before the storm system arrived.

The weather service forecast called for a high in the mid-60s Thursday and mid-70s Friday. The same goes for the rest of the Wasatch Front. It's not just a far cry from earlier this week but also the previous two months, which were the hottest June and July in 147 years that the weather service has calculated Salt Lake City's weather data.

Highs are expected to return into the low 80s this weekend across the Wasatch Front.

Rain records fall across Utah

Many Utah communities are still cleaning up from flooding Tuesday and Wednesday.

The weather service had just two ongoing flood warnings and advisories as of noon Thursday. A warning was issued near Altona, in Duchesne County, while an advisory was issued for areas near Delta, where a record 4.39 inches of rain fell between Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, alone. There's also a flash flood watch that remains in effect through parts of southeast Utah, including Arches National Park, Moab and Monticello, through Thursday evening.

The National Weather Service reported all sorts of daily rain records broken Wednesday — and some already broken Thursday. Deseret, Millard County received 5.43 inches of rain Wednesday, which is 3.43 inches of precipitation more than the previous one-day record in its history. The old record was set in February 1915, according to the weather service.

New Harmony in Washington County received 4.43 inches of rain Wednesday, breaking the old daily record of 1.38 inches, set in 1983. The town has already received another 2.25 inches Thursday, according to weather service data. That breaks another daily record. Bryce Canyon National Park broke its Aug. 18 record with 1.81 inches Wednesday; and, with 1.70 inches of rain as of 10 a.m. Thursday, broke its Aug. 19 record, as well.

Places across Utah got soaked, even without breaking records. For instance, Olympus Cove in Millcreek received 2.22 inches of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon received 2.13 inches, while some areas of the West Uintas received over 2.5 inches during the same span.

Full forecasts for areas across Utah can be found at the KSL Weather Center.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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