February's been warmer than normal so far

Forecast » Storms on tap this weekend, especially in Utah's middle
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Does it feel like February has been warmer than normal in the Salt Lake area? Well, it's true.

With the exception of Feb. 8, when the high in Salt Lake City reached 39, temperatures have been in the 40s and even crept into the 50s one day. The average temperature of 37 degrees so far this month is 4 degrees above normal.

The weather pattern that has boosted temps, the El Nino effect, is also likely the reason southern Utah has been wetter than the north this winter.

"We've had heavy snow events across the southern part of the state," Mike Seaman, a forecaster for the National Weather Service's Salt Lake office, said Thursday. But the north has been dry and plagued by inversions, at least in December and January.

And the trend of more storms hitting the central and southern part of the state looks as if it will continue this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from this morning through late Saturday night for the central Utah Mountains, Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs, where one to two feet of snow are expected. Winds could reach 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts possible of up to 40 miles per hour.

A winter storm watch is in effect for the southern Wasatch and western Utah Mountains from this afternoon through late Saturday night.

"The area most under the gun is the central part of the state, from Milford and Delta eastward along the I-70 corridor," said Seaman. "The Wasatch Front may be on the northern fringe. There is some potential it could shift north to the southern Wasatch Front on Friday and Saturday from Orem down to Nephi."

In Salt Lake City, temperatures during the day will continue to be in the 40s through Monday, with some chance of rain and snow. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of precipitation today, 60 percent tonight and 70 percent on Saturday.

It should be a nice weekend in the St. George area, with highs ranging from 59 today to 52 on Monday. There is a slight chance of rain today through Monday that could put a damper on some outdoor activities.