Utah sees warmest winter on record

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-01 22:30:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Meteorologists say this is officially the warmest winter on record, and the cold streak we've been experiencing isn't expected to last.

The National Weather Service says Salt Lake City hasn't seen a winter this warm since 1978, and even that wasn't quite this warm.

"Here in Salt Lake City we had the warmest winter on record - that begins December 1st and runs through February 28th - and we broke the record by about a half a degree," said Mike Seaman, NWS meteorologist.

The little precipitation northern Utah has seen over the last couple weeks isn't enough to salvage the winter, which could impact the state's water levels.

"As we transition into March, it looks like we`re actually going to be drying out as we head toward the early or middle part of the month. So what little help that we did get with the snow pack is really not going to be enough, it doesn`t look like, to salvage a decent winter," Seaman said. "Certainly as we head toward spring and summer, water supply is going to be a bigger issue."

While some may place the blame on the unusually warm winter on climate change, Seaman says that it could be a factor, but natural weather patterns and the lack of inversion seem to be the real culprits.

"This year, because we had the least snowfall on record here in Salt Lake City, we never really brought that cold air in, we never established those inversions and, therefore, we were able to warm up a lot more than normal," Seaman said.

Seaman says that climate change could be considered a contributing factor if we see warm winter trends like this year over a long period of time. Just one winter of warm weather can't be pinpointed to one factor - it could just be natural weather patterns. If climate change is in effect, Utah will start seeing less snow and become more of a rain-based climate.