Thunderstorms will bring cooler weather to Utah from north to south, but high winds and continued wildfire danger could make the Memorial Day weekend a mixed bag for recreationists and holiday travelers — and keep the state’s fire watchers anxious.
Saturday’s forecast called for high temperatures in the mid-60s in northern Utah and in the 70s in the southern reaches of the state. Winds of 15-25 mph in the north — and 40 mph with gusts above 60 mph in the south — prompted the National Weather Service to issue a high wind warning for a crescent-shaped chunk of the state extending from the west-central deserts to southwestern Utah and running across the southern border to the southeast corner of the state, as well as northeast to the Vernal area.
Drivers of recreational vehicles, motor homes and high-profile trucks were warned to be especially wary of stiff crosswinds in those areas.
In the north, meteorologist Glen Merrill said wet weather will be prominent Saturday into Sunday morning. He said thunderstorms will develop early Saturday morning, and rain showers will likely continue off and on throughout the day. Places above 7,500 feet, such as the High Uintas, could receive snow showers.
Merrill said they don’t expect any snow to accumulate in those higher elevations, but campers should be aware that their Memorial Day weekend will likely experience some wintery conditions.
“Red Flag” wildfire warnings were out for several locales, including the St. George area, Carbon County and Nephi region of central Utah.
Air quality was rated “Green,” or satisfactory statewide, according to the Utah Division of Environmental Quality.
Hazy skies seen throughout the Salt Lake Valley on Friday was likely because of airborne dust, Merrill said. He said with the winds blowing throughout the day likely carried dust particles into the air, but said it’s possible that smoke from the wildfire at Promontory Point could have contributed to the haze.
Salt Lake City’s Saturday high temperature was pegged at 66, down from Friday’s forecast for 76 degrees; Ogden looked for 65 and 74, respectively; Provo 67 and 80; Logan 65 and 69; Wendover 62 and 69; Duchesne 68 and 76; Cedar City 60 and 74; St. George 71 and 86; and Moab 78 and 88 degrees.
Merrill said that while most of the holiday weekend will be filled with thunderstorms and high winds, Monday looks to be a “stellar” day, weather-wise.
Tribune reporter Jessica Miller contributed to this story.