Utah's bitter cold weather, making it "a December to remember," has lifted, and a relative "heat burst" is expected to push temperatures into teens and 20s Thursday and Friday morning.
But Utahns shouldn't put their heaviest coats away. More extremely cold temperatures are on the way by the weekend.A cloud cover brought only temporary warmth to Salt Lake Valley Wednesday - a relief for residents who weathered the coldest Christmas Day on record and kept plumbers repairing broken water and sewer lines instead of enjoying the holidays at home.
Chilling temperatures played havoc with pipes in the Heber Wells Building, 160 E. 300 South. A sprinkler system burst above the lobby of the main entrance, flooding the area. Much of the lobby in the Embassy Suites Hotel, 600 S. West Temple, was also drenched when a sprinkler system burst - causing about $3,000 damage to the carpeting and some furniture.
The cold wasn't reserved for Utah's capital. Eleven Utah cities set records for the day's lowest maximum temperatures Christmas Day.
Salt Lake City again broke records for the day's high and low temperatures with minus 7 in the morning and a high of 18 - two degrees lower than the record in 1948. Other Utah cities recorded these highs:
Brigham City, 16 (old high was 24 in 1985); Coalville, 16 (18 in 1987); Fillmore, 10 (17 in 1987); Logan, 0 (10 in 1985); Nephi, 20 (22 in 1985); Ogden, 14 (22 in 1948); Richfield, 12 (14 in 1987); Spanish Fork, 12 (16 in 1987); St. George, 37 (39 in 1987); and Tooele, 21 (23 in 1985).
In Logan, temperatures plummeted to minus 44 degrees at the Jensen Historic Farm Monday - tying the record for the coldest temperature ever registered in Cache Valley.
William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service, said the frigid reading matched the minus 44 recorded in Lewiston on Jan. 21, 1937.
Salt Lake City's low of minus 2 degrees Christmas morning marked the sixth consecutive day of sub-zero temperatures.
Through the first 25 days of the month, the mean daily temperature in Salt Lake City was running 7 degrees below normal, Alder said.
"This will be a December to remember - or forget."
Temperature relief is expected through Friday morning when temperatures reach a balmy 20 to 30 degrees. No new snow is expected Thursday.
Snow began covering roadways in Brigham City about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and spread to Hill Air Force Base about midnight, arriving in Salt Lake City at 2 a.m. Wednesday. A half inch to 1 1/2 inches was recorded along the Wasatch Front. This weekend the weather will dramatically change.
"Then we have a more significant system coming in later Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately it is coming down from the arctic," Alder said.
That means much more snow and much colder temperatures.
"Temperatures could bomb to like those we had during the first part of the week," he warned.