SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Happy weekend, Utah! We have a very active pattern today and tomorrow.
The reason? We have deep monsoon moisture in place and the potential additional moisture from what is now Hurricane Hilary in the eastern Pacific. In the coming days, it is projected to move north, and by the time we get towards the back half of the weekend into early next week, the weakening storm will likely be in either Baja California or southern California and still could be a tropical storm, which is very rare. There are even tropical storm watches in places for southwestern California, which is the first time that has happened from the National Hurricane Center. While Hurricane Hilary is expected to weaken by the time it gets to the southwestern United States, it will drag in deep tropical moisture to the SW US. This will result in an abundance of rainfall and a potential for flash flooding and landslides in Southern California and the Desert Southwest. Some areas impacted could receive more than a full year’s worth of rain!
Well, what about Utah? The path of Hilary as it decays from a tropical storm and depression plays a big role in whether or not Utah sees part of that plume of tropical moisture. Right now, the storm track keeps the deepest of the tropical moisture just to our west, but if it takes the easterly track through the cone, we could still tap into some of that deep tropical moisture here in Utah, especially along and west of I-15. Today, most of the moisture we get will be monsoon moisture with a marginal (level 1/4) low-end risk of excessive rainfall that could result in flash flooding for most of Utah while in SW Utah, some of that tropical moisture could move in, resulting in a slight risk (level 2/4) of excessive rainfall. By Sunday, we could be tapping into that tropical moisture. There’s a marginal risk of excessive rainfall for most spots along and west of I-15 while southwestern Utah will remain in a slight risk.
A big part of Utah sees an elevated flooding risk today as a Flood Watch remains in place through this evening from the Central Mountains down through southwestern and southcentral Utah. Flooding will especially be possible slot canyons, dry washes, burn scars, and low-lying urban areas. On top of the flooding concerns, there’s a low-end risk of severe storms for southernmost Utah today as storms could also produce wind gusts over 60 mph. The risk of Flash Flooding across the mighty 5 and southern Utah recreational areas is “Probable” again today, but at Zion National Park, Flash Flooding is expected. Avoid backcountry hikes this weekend!
Outside of any wet weather today, we’ll see mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies in northern Utah while southern Utah will check in with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Daytime highs will also be similar to yesterday but will run about 1-3 degrees cooler. For most, that will still mean highs will mainly range in the 80s and 90s. Along the Wasatch Front, we’ll see mid to upper 80s while St. George will come in around 96°. The best chance for storms today will be during the afternoon and evening hours. Past sundown, storm potential will begin to fall. However, even during the overnight, a few passing showers and rumbles of thunder will remain possible. Sunday is again, our best bet to see tropical remnants enhance flooding potential.
Temperatures this weekend will also ease down with southern Utah expected to see the biggest drop. By Sunday we could see a high well into the 80s in St. George while Salt Lake will fall to around the 90-degree mark which is very seasonal. Even when Hilary fades away and moves away on Monday, all signs are pointing to some moisture hanging around through at least the first half of next week, which would mean we’ll hold onto storm potential with monsoon flow as temperatures gradually ease up to near averages by the middle of the week statewide.
The bottom line? It will be another active day across the state with the potential of scattered storms and additional flooding through the weekend.
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