Fall weather arrives a day early

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    By Lane Stilson

    The heat is off, and the coats are on in Provo. Fall came one day early this year, catching many locals by surprise.

    Temperatures dropped to a chilly 39 degrees in Provo Monday morning, just one day before the Autumnal Equinox. The high for the day was a meager 55 degrees.

    The recent drop in temperatures has some people wondering if winter is coming early this year.

    “I think it probably is going to be a very cold winter,” said Jared Wilbourn, 23, a senior from Atlanta, majoring in facilities management. “It”s only mid-September and it”s already starting to get pretty cold.”

    However, according to Jim Steenburgh, a professor of meteorology at the University of Utah, this cooling pattern does little to indicate that winter is here to stay.

    “It looks like it will be cool for a few days, but then probably rebound back up,” he said. “So it”s the usual roller coaster ride of the fall.”

    Forecasts from www.ksl.com predict this cooling pattern to last through Tuesday. After that, temperatures are expected to rise throughout the week, ending with highs in the 80s over the weekend.

    Steenburgh said these temperature fluctuations have little to do with the expected El Nino this year. Forecasters expect Utah to experience a weak El Nino through the fall and winter, which means the Western United States has a better chance of being a little warmer this winter.

    The El Nino pattern also increases the chances of having a wetter winter in the West. The colder temperatures and likelihood of snowfall has some skiers and snowboarders excited about the upcoming winter.

    “Usually, I get excited around Halloween [for the ski season],” said Chris Johnson, 24, a junior from Temple, Texas, majoring in physics, “but the sooner the snow hits, the better.”

    Despite the likelihood of increased snowfall, Steenburgh said Utah will not be able to pull out of its long-term drought conditions in just one year.

    “Even if we had a big snow year this year, that would help those people who tend to rely on the spring runoff,” he said, “but reservoirs like Lake Powell are going to take a few years to fill up.”

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