Despite a week of heavy storms near the end of the month, precipitation was still below normal for December at the Salt Lake International Airport.
Only .62 inch of precipitation fell at the airport. That was only 45 percent of the normal monthly amount.As of Saturday, precipitation totaled .51 inch for January, which is close to normal, said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge at the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.
A total of 3.31 inches of water has been recorded for the 1988-89 water year that began Oct. 1. That is 75 percent of the normal amount, 4.41 inches, at the airport.
December snowfall at the airport totaled 12.5 inches, just slightly above the normal 12.2 inches.
While there might have been a shortage of precipitation, there was no shortage of cold weather in December. The average monthly temperature was 28.1 degrees - 2.2 degrees below normal. High temperatures averaged 3.1 degrees below normal; lows averaged 1.3 degrees below normal. Two new record-low maximum temperatures were also recorded.
There were 16 days of fog, with two days marked by visibility reduced to one-fourth-mile or less. December usually has an average of four foggy days.
Precipitation was above normal along bench areas of the Wasatch Front, the Wasatch Mountains, in the Sevier Valley and southern Utah. But below-normal precipitation fell in the Cache Valley and other areas.
Few people will forget the heavy winds that barreled through Davis, Weber, Cache and Salt Lake counties in mid-December. The winds reached 105 to 110 mph in Centerville Dec. 14 and continued with hurricane force in several other locations the next day.
Damage from the wind storm may exceed $10 million. Of that total, $1 million worth of damage occurred at Ogden Defense Depot alone, officials say.
Owners and operators at Alta Ski Resort are still singing the praises of heavy snowfall during December. A total of 124.5 inches of snow fell at Alta. That's a lot of snow, but it doesn't come close to hitting the rec-ord 244.5 inches that fell during December 1983, Alder said.
The December 1988 snowfall contained 9.90 inches of water. Normal snowfall for Alta during December is 93 inches with 7.85 inches of moisture.
Snowbird received 116 inches of snow during the month with 7.84 inches of moisture. The normal is 80 inches of snow and 7 inches of water. Brighton received 78 inches of snow and 5.07 inches of water. Normal snowfall and moisture figures for Brighton are 61 inches and 5.02 inches respectively.
Most of the heavy snow storms moved into Utah between Dec. 19 and Dec. 26, leaving most highways in treacherous conditions. Snow even fell in St. George and other Washington County locations.
Weight of the snow caused a portion of the roof at a Fred Meyer store, near 33rd South and I-215, to collapse Dec. 16. There were no injuries in the incident.
December's precipitation (in inches)
1988 1988 Normal Departure
Location Snowfall Precip. precip. from normal
Alta 124.5 9.90 7.85 2.05 above
Brigham City n/a 1.50 1.90 .40 below
Brighton 78.0 5.07 5.02 .05 above
Capitol Reef .28 .14 .65 .09 above
Farmington 28.2 2.09 1.77 .32 above
Green River 1.0 .33 .39 .06 below
Hanksville n/a .09 .30 .21 below
Heber City n/a 1.29 1.73 .44 below
Holladay 32.5 2.18 2.04 .14 above
Kanab 18.0 2.04 1.24 .80 above
Kearns 30.0 2.10 n/a n/a
Logan 13.8 1.14 1.63 .49 below
Moab 1.0 .37 .67 .30 below
Monticello 23.0 1.65 1.38 .27 above
Murray 19.5 1.37 1.67 .30 below
Nephi 24.0 1.12 1.26 .14 below
Ogden 29.0 3.88 1.89 1.99 above
Provo 22.0 1.53 1.49 .04 above
Richfield n/a 1.28 .56 .72 above
St. George n/a .98 .72 .26 above
Salt Lake City 11.5 1.12 n/a n/a
Springville 33.5 2.25 2.01 .24 above
Tooele 18.0 1.17 1.42 .25 below
Vernal 5.0 .41 .63 .22 below
Zion Park n/a 1.87 .42 1.45 below