As kitchens across Utah and the West warm with a bountiful feast of turkey and other trappings this week, so does the weather.
A high pressure system is parked over a huge chunk of the western United States, leading to a forecast of warmer-than-average temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions.
The outlook, when it comes to a thriving ski season, does not bode well at this point, but meteorologists say it is early.
December holds some promise.
“It is a little far out, but there are some early indications that we might see a change in the weather pattern, maybe the second week of December. I wouldn’t say that with a high level of confidence this far out,” said David Church, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
December could bring colder temperatures and wetter weather. At least that is the hope.
Church gets that for people who like to get outdoors and have fun in the sun, these are pretty good conditions right now.
It does not help abate the effects of what feels like an endless drought, and it won’t help water supply levels next year.
Utah residents, in this time of Thanksgiving, can be grateful for an incredibly wet October that replenished dry soils and delivered a base of high mountain snowpack that Church said should remain in the months to come.
“We had a really nice start to the water year in October with quite a bit of precipitation,” he said. “Obviously, we are not getting much help from Mother Nature now when it comes to natural snow.”
Church said Utah is in an unsavory position now, but the months ahead could turn a bad meal into a fabulous feast.
As we sit, 75% of the water years on record have shown more snowpack in the mountains than exists now.
“It is still fairly early in the year so you know, there’s certainly quite a bit of snowpack building time ahead,” he said. “So it’s good that we at least had a good start and we haven’t lost all of it. It’s just that we haven’t really put anything additional on.”
February is a month that can pile on the snowpack accumulation in Utah and other states in the West.
“It is just a matter of continuing to build that snowpack,” he said.