WEATHER

Will El Niño bring snow to Utah this winter? KSL Meteorologist says, maybe

Sep 26, 2023, 9:00 PM

El Nino could help Utah, but it could hurt Utah, KSL Meteorologist says....

FILE: Snow coats the trees and cars in Edwards, Colo. The new snow was wet and heavy. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

(Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Is Utah in for another big winter? Maybe. With a lot of excitement about El Niño, and coming off last year’s historic winter, many Utahns are hopeful.

“In the past, we have had very strong winters or big-snow winters with El Niños,” said KSL Meteorologist Brett Benson. “We’ve also had dry ones. And the same thing with La Niñas.”

Benson says last year’s historic winter saw a La Niña pattern for a time before switching to an El Niño.

El Niño and this coming winter

El Niño could play a role in whether Utah gets another snowy winter. But, Benson says it’s not a guarantee.

He says an El Niño means the Pacific Northwest is looking at warmer weather, while the Southwest has the potential for more rain, said Benson, “Those jet streams move, and we get some precipitation from the south, or we get some precipitation from the north, and it’s just really how much of those wiggles, if you will, that we get in the jet streams. That’s what going to decide if we have a big winter or not.”

So, here’s to hoping for wiggles.

Utah needs another good, snowy winter

Benson says we need weather regularly during the winter to get more snow. And despite last year’s historic snowfall, he says we really need another good year.

“We are no way out of the woods,” he said. “We could have drought again this winter.”

As winter approaches, Utahns are keeping a close eye on the weather patterns, hoping for these favorable “wiggles” in the jet streams that could bring the much-needed snow.

“If we could get that 500-700 inches, maybe a little bit more, that would be fantastic,” said Benson, “that’s what we really need.”

Last year’s record-breaking snowfall was a welcome relief, but it’s not enough to guarantee a long-term solution to Utah’s ongoing water concerns. A single good winter can provide temporary relief, but a sustained period of above-average snowfall is what Utah truly needs to mitigate the persistent threat of drought.

With Salt Lake City only six weeks from its typical first snowstorm, Utahns are holding their breath, hoping Mother Nature will be generous again.

Related:

As water year ends, reservoirs around Utah are in a “good place”

An El Niño winter is coming. Here’s what that could mean for the US

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Will El Niño bring snow to Utah this winter? KSL Meteorologist says, maybe