WEATHER

Humid Utah, is this the high desert’s new norm?

Sep 6, 2023, 4:30 PM

Image of condensation, indicating humid conditions. Utah feeling humid is nothing for our friends f...

Humidity is the latest record to be hit in Utah in 2023 (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah feeling humid is nothing for our friends from the south and southeast. A little humidity for them probably makes them feel right at home. But a lot of Utahns are used to our high desert’s dry heat.

So how long does this humidity stick around? Do we have to get used to it?

Why is Utah feeling so humid?

National Weather Service Meteorologist Nicole Desmet told KSL NewsRadio that normal weather patterns over the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California combined for a surge in humidity in Utah.

Then, Hurricane Hilary came along.

“That impacted California and it brought all of its moisture up through California and Nevada, and through here as well,” Desmet said. 

And remember the flash flood warnings central and southern Utah saw in August? They were also related to the weather patterns over the Gulfs of Mexico and California, and Hurricane Hilary.

For those dry-heat diehards in Utah, take heed. The National Weather Service says approaching cool fronts will dry things out and lessen the humidity we’re feeling.

What is humidity?

In general, humidity describes water vapor in the air. Water vapor forms when water absorbs heat. Dew forms when water vapors land on something that is cooler than the vapor (like grass or a mirror).

Utah’s weather records are set at the Salt Lake City International Airport, and another one was set in August when sensors recorded dew forming in temperatures as high as 72 degrees.

“Dew point is the record of moisture in our air. We did reach a record-high dew point in August … on August 19,” Desmet said.

When her agency compared dew point levels throughout August, they found those totals were about double what they normally are for Utah.

Water and records set in Utah in 2023

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that water has slammed Utah in a lot of different ways for the past 12 months. Snow began falling in October 2022 and according to Ski Utah, snowfall of 100 inches per month began in December and lasted through April 2023.  

In March, the state surpassed its record for snowpack. By April we’d broken a 71-year-old record for snowpack.

Then, in late summer, the rain. KSL.com reported that an entire summer’s worth of rain fell across the entire state in one day.

So we can add the latest record, a record-high dew point, to the list of water troubles in Utah this year. But for a state that’s been in a drought for 20 years, is there any such thing as water trouble?

Related reading:

Dale Spaulding contributed.

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Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Humid Utah, is this the high desert’s new norm?