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Old 10-02-2012, 09:52 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,525 posts, read 6,170,549 times
Reputation: 2983

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Prior to relo from NYC region I'd like a reality check on SLC winters. I want to ditch my snowblower, lose my concerns about ice storms bringing trees crashing on to my house and weeks of bone-chilling northeast cold.

Anyway, I've looked at all the stats on SLC climate and weather averages but I can't get a good sense of the reality - how the winter actually feels. Stats indicate that SLC is substantially colder and gets about 33% more snow than here in NY (I'm in northern Westchester county on CT border). We usually have snow that lingers for weeks and large parking lots start running out of room for the plowed snow. Yet in my winter ski trips to SLC the valley has had just traces of snow at most. I was in the valley 2 weeks last Jan (yeah, I know, an unusual year) and it never got really cold and never snowed more than a couple inches at a time (even though it's feet in the mountains) and most of that was gone the next day.

Can anybody give me a sense of what to expect? Obviously there's a very strong altitude dependency, so are there some valley neighborhoods that are high enough to get appreciably more snowfall than, say, the airport? Obviously it also varies from year to year, that's why we have the concept of "average," and no given year is usually average. So what's the worst that can be reasonably expected?

Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: A Place With REAL People
3,053 posts, read 5,953,531 times
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Well, assuming you are IN the Salt Lake Valley I'd say on average snowfall in the last decade or so has been pretty minor regarding it's impeding anyone's progress coming and going. A few years ago the snow blower sure came in handy as we had a record snowfall and cold, but OUR idea of cold here is 20 degrees and that certainly doesn't last long or isn't an average temperature. Our roads department is pretty on the ball and they keep the main roads clear, but on occasion lag a bit on some smaller side streets. I don't personally think we get the snowfall they do back East in our valleys on average. And even when it does snow it doesn't usually stick around long. If I were to say on average, the "winter" is probably from middle end of December to March with some occasional surprise snows in April, but those melt in a day or two at the most. I've also seen years where Spring is in full gear by April. Just depends. I've also gone to a Thanksgiving dinner where it was 72 degrees during that day. But one thing is for SURE, you will NOT miss the humidity :-) I'm an old Chicago boy and man this is just the BEST when it comes to the nice DRY air. I do love a good cleansing rain every now and then however.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,858 posts, read 61,715,341 times
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I used my snowblower every year but I don't shovel due to my back injury. I have felt colder in New Orleans at 40 deg and 80% humidity than in SLC at 15 deg and 40% humidity. I felt colder in Chicago when visiting in the winter than in SLC but New Orleans was the coldest feeling.

There have been winters when the snow on my yard didn't melt for months and years when only the part in the shade didn't melt. Our snow is very dry and powdery, we rarely get a heavy wet snow.

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Old 10-02-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Draper, Utah
617 posts, read 2,684,257 times
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No comparison to the cold back east or in more humid areas of the nation. Because it is so dry here, I don't feel that "to the bone" chill that I have felt in more humid winters. I lived in London, England for 2 years, and it rarely snows there, but the damp rain and cold was way worse, and required a lot more clothing layers. If you are planning to spend a day in the mountains in the dead of winter here in Utah, you will need to layer up. But if you are just running to the store or something, a long sleeve shirt covered by a winter coat is plenty. The snow tends to stay for a few days, then it will warm back up again, and in the shade, the snow will stay and pile up, and look all dirty, but on the grass, in the sunshine, it melts away.

If you live in higher elevation such as Park City, or up North in Logan, you will see a lot more snow, and it stays and piles up all winter. Logan has limestone underneath it though, so it acts like a freezer and just keeps the snow chilled nicely all winter.

Last winter was a major fluke. The driest and mildest ever on record. I wouldn't base anything off of last winter. I lived through 5 Utah winters before moving away (2000-2005). About 3 of those were heavy winters, with 2-3 storms per week, a lot of the snow accumulation being at night and in the early morning. The other two were relatively average, about one storm per week, the snow melting in sunny spots, and piles of it that were in the shade sticking around.

The daytime temperatures in the coldest winter months here, tend to hang in the upper thirties/low forties, except during times when a cold front/storm system moves in, and we see our snow. The day after a major storm blows through, can be sunny, but frigid. Then the temps tend to slowly climb up again each day, until our next system moves in.

Hope that helps give you an idea of what to expect. I honestly do not layer up too much if I'm running errands in the winter. I'll wear jeans, boots, a long sleeve shirt with my jacket over it. If we are going to be spending more time outside, on a walk or something, I wear a beanie and gloves.

If you want anything more specific, I would be glad to help.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:49 PM
 
Location: east millcreek
835 posts, read 1,938,138 times
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Bring your snowblower as you will want it. You may use it once a season or every week during winter depending upon where you end up living.
I was hoping I could divorce ours when we moved down to East Millcreek from Park City but we ended up having to get a bigger and more powerful one. Our first winter here, the 08-09 season, we had more snow at the house down here than at the old place in Park City until late February.
One thing for sure as the others have pointed out, our lack of relative humidity makes the low temps very tolerable. On a beautiful sunny day, I can be outside with no coat most of the day even if it is 10-20 degrees air temp...after growing up in Kansas, I also learned that it doesn't snow sideways everywhere either!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
25,202 posts, read 25,838,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
Prior to relo from NYC region I'd like a reality check on SLC winters.
Sounds like you're doing your homework.

Quote:
I want to ditch my snowblower...
Forget about that. You can't live at 4500 feet or higher, at the base of 11,000 foot mountains and east of a good sized lake and not expect a few heavy snowfalls each winter.

Quote:
lose my concerns about ice storms bringing trees crashing on to my house...
What's an ice storm? (Seriously, we don't get those.)

Quote:
and weeks of bone-chilling northeast cold.
That one's hard for me to comment on. As far as I'm concerned, anything below 45 degrees gets classified as "bone-chilling." Most people who've lived both here and in New York will tell you that our cold weather is nothing in comparison to what you're used to.

I noticed that in another thread people were suggesting Park City. Based on your concerns about the winter weather, I'd suggest you cross Park City off your list, if you haven't already.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:14 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,525 posts, read 6,170,549 times
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>Forget about that. You can't live at 4500 feet or higher, at the base
>of 11,000 foot mountains and east of a good sized lake and not expect
>a few heavy snowfalls each winter.

>What's an ice storm? (Seriously, we don't get those.)

>That one's hard for me to comment on. As far as I'm concerned,
>anything below 45 degrees gets classified as "bone-chilling." Most
>people who've lived both here and in New York will tell you that
>our cold weather is nothing in comparison to what you're used to.

>I noticed that in another thread people were suggesting Park City.
>Based on your concerns about the winter weather, I'd suggest you
>cross Park City off your list, if you haven't already.

This seems to sum it, thanks to everybody. This is all pretty much what I figured. Winter preferences concerns are my wife's, she hates the damp, eastern cold and hassle of the super-heavy dumps we get (2' of snow so heavy that the biggest snowblower can't manage it). Yeah, PC is scrubbed, wrong in too many ways. Looking forward to my winter trip and the Winter Outdoor show in Jan! I'll take a couple days off skiing and tour some of these areas.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Utah
5,107 posts, read 15,656,577 times
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Since you're visiting in January, be prepared for inversions. We have poor air quality along the Wasatch front throughout January--not every day, but it is something to be aware of. Use the search feature or Google for more info about inversions and winter air quality.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:16 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,525 posts, read 6,170,549 times
Reputation: 2983
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggalegga View Post
Since you're visiting in January, be prepared for inversions. We have poor air quality along the Wasatch front throughout January--not every day, but it is something to be aware of. Use the search feature or Google for more info about inversions and winter air quality.
Yes indeed. Last winter I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing the dreaded inversions. Quite heinous. I can only hope that their severity last winter was partly a function of the generally bizarre early winter weather.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: east millcreek
835 posts, read 1,938,138 times
Reputation: 529
It absolutely is! More storms, more mixing of the atmosphere and more happy skiers!
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