El Nino is to credit for the unseasonably warm weather Utah is having this week, and for that matter this winter, according to Mark Buller, an intern meteorologist at the National Weather Service's office at Salt Lake International Airport.
"It's causing the storms to split, with most of them going to the south of us," said Buller, who noted temperatures in recent weeks often have been well above average for this time of year.El Nino, a warm-current phenomenon that sweeps through the Pacific Ocean every few years, triggers atmospheric reactions that divert cold and stormy weather normally bound for the Western and Midwestern United States toward the south. The current follows a 7,000-mile route from the mid-Pacific to the coast of South America.
"It causes us to just get the weak portion of storms up here," Buller said Thursday. "And because of this pattern, we've got a (high pressure) ridge over the top of us right now."