Sun or storms? General conference weather patterns are consistently inconsistent

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

  • The wettest conference weather on record was April 3-6, 1921, when 1.19 inches of precipitation fell. The single wettest conference day was Oct. 10, 1920, with 1.15 inches of moisture.
  • The snowiest conference period was April 2-6, 1955, when 12.9 inches of snow fell. The single snowiest conference day was April 2, 1995, with 9.6 inches.
  • The longest dry period for conferences was from October 1999 to October 2002, when no measurable precipitation was recorded for seven consecutive conferences.
  • April conferences during the past 53 years have typically been under partly cloudy to cloudy skies, with average temperatures in the upper 50s to the lower 60s. For October conferences, the average highs are in the low to mid-70s.
  • The warmest October conference day was Oct. 7, 1979, at 88 degrees. The coldest October conference day was Oct. 4, 1890, at 30 degrees.
  • The warmest April conference day was April 5, 1959, at 82 degrees, and the coldest-ever was April 4, 1955, at 20 degrees.
“In essence, April conferences are generally a time for coats and umbrellas,” the report concluded. “October conferences usually enjoy pleasant fall weather.”

Expert opinions

When asked what makes weather so volatile and hard to predict in April and October, several television meteorologists shared their opinions.

Brett Benson, chief meteorologist at KSTU Fox 13, said September/October is a time of the year when the weather transitions from warm patterns to cold patterns, which involves rapid temperature changes, strong winds and storms.

Benson said anything can happen in April because of an opposite transition.

“Some of the biggest weather events in U.S. history have happened in April,” Benson said in an email. “So it’s not just conference weekends that have the corner on the crazy weather market.”

Glenn Willey, a meteorologist with ABC affiliate Channel 4, said Utah’s topography makes forecasting extremely difficult all year round. His colleague, Jim Kosek, called Utah weather “fickle.”

“Surrounded by mountains … communities and neighborhoods (at) various elevations and a giant lake full of salt that never freezes over makes for a winter full of potential lake effect events,” Willey said. “The whole thing makes my head spin at times.”

Conference weekend has seen everything imaginable, Eubank said, so be prepared for anything.

The big forecast

So what’s the forecast for this coming general conference weekend?

Various weather reports predict highs of 75 degrees, partly cloudy to mostly sunny with light wind and a low chance of rain for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7.

“The long-term models show nice weather for conference weekend,” Benson said. “But I don’t believe them.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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