Winds of Change


    By Adam Larson

    The high wind warning issued by the National Weather Service for Tuesday has been reinforced by a strong wind warning across Utah in effect today.

    The two warnings are a result of a cold front moving east through Nevada and combining with the warm Utah air, creating thunderstorms and high winds.

    According to the NWS warning, a high wind warning means that a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring, and in Tuesday”s warning, winds upward of 75 mph were expected around the storm.

    David James, who oversees BYU”s weather station, said that though the storm may be out of season, June winter storms are not without precedent.

    “It is not all that unusual to get winter storms in Utah during the first half of June,” James said. “Two years ago, it even snowed on the benches of the northern Wasatch Front.”

    James compared the projections for this storm with the powerful microburst storm of June 5, 1995.

    “In that storm, wind gusts reached 70 to 90 mph in Utah Valley,” he said. “The north areas in Utah County will be most prone to high winds, just like last time.”

    Luckily, this front is not expected to hit with the same severity as the 1995 storm.

    “This storm does not resemble the June microburst storm of 1995, when the winds were clocked at 121 mph on the tower,” said Daniel Pope, certified broadcast meteorologist for KSL-TV. “[In that particular storm] the timing was around 3 to 5 p.m. when there was the best heating for the day. The later arrival of this storm, with the main moisture not arriving until near or after midnight, will keep the storm from intensifying into severe damaging winds.”

    Along with the wind, the cold front will bring a drop in temperatures, estimated around the 40s this morning with snow in the Wasatch Mountains to as low as about 5,500 feet.

    Estimated precipitation through Thursday is 6 to 12 inches of snow in the mountains above 8,000 feet and from -one-third to as much as three-quarters of an inch of rainfall in Provo and Utah County.

    Rainfall is expected to continue into Thursday, with another weaker storm pushing over the area next week.

    Weekend forecasts predict highs in the upper 70s to around 80 on Saturday with partly sunny skies.

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