Utah Climate

Utah Climate

Utah is home to some fascinating climate. Southwestern Utah has both the lowest as well as the hottest temperatures in the state. It’s frequently referred to as Dixie as the early settlers could grow cotton in the region.

Utah is also home to several ski resorts that offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy snow during the winter months. Skiers from around the world flock to the region to experience the light fluffy snow that can rapidly accumulate in the region.

Seventy percent of the land in the state is either BLM land or Utah State Trust land. The U.S. National Forest also owns a portion of the region. Every county in the state of Utah offers up some form of National Forest.

Utah enjoys such a varied climate that it boasts both Joshua trees, Yucca plants, and lastly, jumping cholla cactus in the far southwestern corner of the region. Featuring a dry and semi-arid desert climate many of the mountains also offer up a variety of climate with some of them actually above the treeline. Dry weather is a direct result of being in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevadas located in nearby California.

Most of the precipitation in the state is a direct result of the Pacific Ocean as the state lies in part in a path that brings in Pacific Storms in the months of October to May. Summertime brings monsoon moisture from the Gulf Of California in the southern region as well as the eastern region of the state.

The densely populated Wasatch Front receives about 15 inches of rain annually and the Great Salt Lake Desert region receives even less at about 5 inches of rain annually. If you go further south you’ll find that St. George only gets about 3 inches of rain. Snow is common in all but the southernmost regions thanks to the Great Salt Lake which gives it a lake effect snow and increases the annual snowfall totals.

It’s not at all uncommon for some of the Wasatch Range to receive as much as 500 inches of snow per year. The deep powder snow led the ski industry in Utah to adopt a slogan “the Greatest Snow On Earth.” Winter temperature inversions are quite common across the basins and valleys and lead to thick fog and haze that may last for weeks on end. Thanks to this inversion, Salt Lake also has some of the worst pollutions in the nation.