Wasatch Weather Weenies: Prelude of Petrichor


I woke up this morning to the smell of rain, or what is known as petrichor.  The UK met office has a nice web page explaining the origins of the word and what causes the smell.  It says,

Raindrops landing on dusty or clay soils trap tiny air bubbles on the surface which then shoot upward — as in a glass of Champagne — and burst out of the drop throwing aerosols of scent into the air where they are then distributed by the wind.”

Radar imagery at 1402 UTC (8:02 AM MDT) showed showers over portions of northern Utah, some likely heavy, especially in the West Desert. 

I’m quite glad to see this as although we had an active monsoon for part of the summer, the last couple of weeks have been hot and bone dry.  On the other hand, there are concerns about flooding produced by heavier downpours.  

The HRRR suggests that in the Salt Lake Valley we may see more isolated to scattered showers for a time today before things pick up again in the afternoon.  We’ll see if that plays out.  Below is the forecast for 2100 UTC (3 PM MDT) this afternoon when the next area of heavier precipitation with embedded cells is moving north-northeastward through the Salt Lake Valley.  

Although we can’t count on the details of a forecast like this verifying given the chaotic nature of convective showers and thunderstorms, keep an eye to the sky today as there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to see something.  The NWS has issued a flood watch for some areas of northern Utah, which I’ve reposted below.  


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