Tooele County’s weather the past few days has been like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.
Temperatures did not get above 28 degrees during the first four days of January with a low of 9 degrees on New Year’s Day. The trend changed suddenly on Jan. 4 when the high temperature shot up above 40 degrees for four straight days, according to readings from Ned Bevan, Tooele Weather Observer for the National Weather Service.
Disparity between high-and-low temperatures were extreme on Jan. 6 with a high of 40 degrees and a nine-day low of minus-4 degrees.
“The swing in temperatures in January is not uncommon and actually has a name, January thaw,” said snow survey supervisor Randy Julander of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The magnitude of the current event is a bit exceptional, to have a swing of 20-to-30 degrees doesn’t happen very often.”
The modest heat wave continued on Monday with the temperature topping out at a high of 52 degrees.
Colder weather is predicted to return for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
Regardless of temperature swings, precipitation the past six days eclipsed the normal precipitation for January. Tooele received 1.16 inches of precipitation the past six days compared to the monthly average of 1.07 inches. Tooele received 11 inches of snowfall the past six days with normal snowfall for all of January at 12.7 inches.
While the valley received rain, snow continued to pile up in the mountains. Julander reported that Snotel sites currently are ahead of schedule. Rocky Basin in Settlement Canyon is 135 percent of normal with Mining Fork in the Stansbury Mountains at 171 percent of normal. Vernon Creek is nearly double the average snowpack at 182 percent of normal.
If high precipitation numbers persist, there is plenty of storage space in area reservoirs. Vernon Reservoir is at 22 percent capacity, Settlement Canyon at 30 percent capacity and Grantsville Reservoir at 17 percent capacity.