El Niño brings Utah snow after record low year

Junior Sam George walks home from his morning class. Although 2015 had record lows of snowfall in the state, the weather phenomenon El Niño has brought Westminster snow addicts the fix they crave. Photo by Christian Anderson

Junior Sam George walks home from his morning class. Although 2015 had record lows of snowfall in the state, the weather phenomenon El Niño has brought Westminster snow addicts the fix they crave. Photo by Christian Anderson

Last winter held the lowest snowfall on record in Salt Lake City based on Wasatch Snow Forecasts, but thanks to the weather phenomenon El Niño, snow addicts will get the fix they crave this winter.

Salt Lake City received 11.2 inches of snow Dec. 11–25, which is the largest two-week amount since 2010, according to the National Weather Service.  

WeatherTrends360 compiled an annual snowfall chart for Salt Lake City, which showed there was only 6.8 inches of snowfall last year. This record falls well short of the mean of about 40 inches.

“When I first started skiing, the snow was great,” said Shivan Lingam, junior business management major. “Obviously, that stopped. Utah is known for snow, so this helps keep our status up.”

For those who aren’t weathercasters, El Niño is “a warm ocean current of variable intensity that develops after late December along the coast of Ecuador and Peru and sometimes causes catastrophic weather conditions,” according to Dictionary.com  

For Ray Stonecek, junior marketing major, this winter is a nice change of pace. Stonecek is originally from Minnesota but moved to Utah for the snow accessibility.  

“Right now, Minnesota is just cold and flat with no snow,” Stonecek said. “I was pretty down after last year. But now that it’s dumping [snow], I can go shred.”

This significant increase in water temperatures affects the weather patterns all over the world. El Niño creates a more southerly storm path, which increases the snowfall in the southern third of the United States.

Not only does this increase in snowfall affect the casual skiers, but it also affects people like Robbie Roethler, first-year student on the snowboard team, who competes and needs the snow.  

Roethler said Salt Lake City is the place to be, because everyday he can guarantee he’s going to have a blast.

“El Niño helps shape the courses we compete on, making it a better experience,” he said.  

Westminster’s campus is less than an hour away from all of the main resorts and mountains that Utah prides itself on. Check the forecast, grab some skis or a snowboard and shred the powder that El Niño has been gracious enough to bring.