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El Nino and Utah

El Nino and Utah

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I am planning a ski vacation to Snowbird for early February 2007. I am from Florida and not familiar with what effects an El Nino winter will have on the snowfall during the ski season. Can you give me any information on this subject to help us plan for our upcoming vacation? The past two years we have been to Snowbird in the months of February and April, and have become spoiled by the amount of snow on the mountain and getting several nice powder days during our trips.




We haven't talked much about El Nino this season so now's a good time. It appears that an El Nino is coming back this year. Let's get familiar. El Nino is a warming of the ocean weather in the eastern equatorial pacific. This warming then changes the weather patterns around the globe. We refer to the sea suface temperatures as "SST's" you might hear that term sometimes when hearing or reading articles reguarding El Nino.

Don't blame everything on El Nino but it does change weather in the US. Stronger El Nino's (greater warming of SST's) can make big changes in the US. One of those changes features warmer weather across the northern US. It can also bring wetter weather across the south and some drier conditions to the Ohio Valley.

Data on snowfall for El Nino winters is harder to find but there is information about precipitation in Utah during those winter months. El Nino winters across Northeast Utah according to the Climate Prediction Center show up as "somewhat dry". Not a significant dryness but just that "somewhat dry". Using some of the other charts, that somewhat is pretty small.

Information from the NWS in SLC shows that El Nino has minimal impact on Utah's weather. You can follow the link to the study. Don't change your vacation plans to Utah for El Nino, with minimal changes because of it, we're forecasted to have an average winter on precipitation.

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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