Weather chaos: It’s August and it’s snowing in Colorado and Utah! Flooding, hail, high winds and tornadoes also reported

Aug 20, 2021

This is pretty rare! It is August 20 and Officials already had to close roads due to white out conditions and ice in Utah and Colorado. Pretty bad no?

Rare August’s snow in Utah

No, you aren’t dreaming! That’s actually snow in Utah’s mountains — in August.

Snowbird Resort, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, tweeted photos Thursday morning of modest snowfall — especially rare for August standards — as a result of the cold front passing through Utah this week. Utah Department of Transportation traffic cameras also picked up light snow in the High Uintas and other mountainous areas Thursday morning. (Click Here)

National Weather Service meteorologists said snow and “fall-like” temperatures are expected in areas above 9,000 feet Thursday with the trough that entered the state. Alta, also in the Cottonwood Canyons, had a forecasted high in the low 40s Thursday, according to the weather service.

The storm, which has delivered plenty of rain and, yes, smoke, cooled temperatures significantly across the state during what has been an otherwise hot summer.

Some record-low temperatures were reported elsewhere in Utah Thursday, including 51 degrees in Bullfrog, by Lake Powell — snapping the record-low of 57 degrees set in 1972.

And also record rainfall across Utah

Many Utah communities are still cleaning up from flooding Tuesday and Wednesday.

The weather service had just two ongoing flood warnings and advisories as of noon Thursday. A warning was issued near Altona, in Duchesne County, while an advisory was issued for areas near Delta, where a record 4.39 inches of rain fell between Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, alone.

There’s also a flash flood watch that remains in effect through parts of southeast Utah, including Arches National Park, Moab and Monticello, through Thursday evening.

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The National Weather Service reported all sorts of daily rain records broken Wednesday:

  • Deseret, Millard County received 5.43 inches of rain Wednesday, which is 3.43 inches of precipitation more than the previous one-day record in its history. The old record was set in February 1915, according to the weather service.
  • New Harmony in Washington County received 4.43 inches of rain Wednesday, breaking the old daily record of 1.38 inches, set in 1983. The town has already received another 2.25 inches Thursday, according to weather service data. That breaks another daily record.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park broke its Aug. 18 record with 1.81 inches Wednesday; and, with 1.70 inches of rain as of 10 a.m. Thursday, broke its Aug. 19 record, as well.

Places across Utah got soaked, even without breaking records. For instance, Olympus Cove in Millcreek received 2.22 inches of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon received 2.13 inches, while some areas of the West Uintas received over 2.5 inches during the same span. [KSL]

Meanwhile, North Carolina is suffering deadly floods after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Fred.

Early snow in Colorado

It is August 20 and the National Weather Service in Boulder is reporting heavy snow on Berthoud Pass.

The snow report was posted around 2 a.m. Friday morning with a 16 degree wind chill. (Click Here)

A dusting of snow was seen on traffic cameras at Rabbit Ears Pass and Cameron Pass in northwest Colorado.

Arapahoe Basin ski resort in Summit County also woke up to its first snow.

Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park were closed Friday due to white out conditions and ice on the roads. Snowplow operators are working to clear the roads.

Although there’s nothing especially unusual about seeing a dusting of snow atop Colorado’s highest peaks, even in mid-August, it is still kind of weird… The last two months were supposed to be the hottest ever!

How soon could Denver see its first snow?

In 2020, the first snow arrived in early September. On Sept. 7, 2020, Denver hit 93 degrees then dropped to 43 degrees on Sept. 8 with 1 inch of snow.

Here’s a look at the list of the first snowfalls during the last 10 years from the National Weather Service:

Sept. 8, 2020
Oct. 10, 2019
Oct. 6, 2018
Oct. 9, 2017
Nov. 17, 2016
Nov. 5, 2015
Nov. 11, 2014
Oct. 18, 2013
Oct. 5, 2012
Oct. 25, 2011

While September snows are possible in Denver, it usually doesn’t snow until the middle of October.

The earliest date of the first snow: Sept. 3, 1961
The latest date of the first snow: Nov. 21, 1934
The average date of the first snow: Oct. 18 [9News]

And hail too for Colorado

Strong storms moved through the Denver area Thursday as a cold front swept through. Two tornado warnings were issued with these storms, and while there were not any funnels that appeared there was sizeable hail.

Pea- to quarter-sized hail up to an inch in diameter was reported in Arvada, Broomfield and Westminster. The metro area and 11 counties remained under a severe thunderstorm watch through 8 p.m. Thursday.

Warning sirens were activated in Adams County and in Brighton because of the ominous weather. [KDVRDenver Post]

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