City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 28, 2016

December 28th

Filed under: Weather — canopus56 @ 8:07 pm

The Refrigerator

4:00 p.m. Overnight temperatures in the canyon and the City have dropped into the teens or single digits, and during the day rise only into the twenties. These temperatures typically will continue until January 10th, and I call this time “The Refrigerator”. Although the days are lengthening, seasonal weather lags behind, and so the coldest part of the year comes after winter’s solstice. Then overcast days end, and the Sun reasserts itself.

The Refrigerator has no effect on me this afternoon. The Sun is out, and my body has adapted to the cold. This adaptation occurs in steps. First, in September after the summer peaks of one-hundred degrees passes, temperatures drop into the eighties. Then sixty degrees felt cold. In October, temperatures fall into the seventies and sixties, but the occasional overnight temperatures in the forties felt cold, and temperatures in the twenties is unimaginable. In November, temperatures fall into the forties with nightimes in the thirties and twenties, but again my body adapts. In December and with the arrival of the Refrigerator and its overnight lows in the single digits, my body adapts once again. For the first three or four days, temperatures in the teens felt unnatural; I genuinely chilled. But now I am able, given sufficient layering, to walk and job in nightly 8 degree weather with little discomfort. The young people run in the canyon today wearing only single light layer, but of the bicyclists, they are driven out of the canyon except for a lone example wearing high-tech outer wear to break the wind’s chill. I do not recognize the person that I was in summer who happily jogged in one-hundred degree weather. I look forward to ascending back up this temperature staircase in the spring and summer, when again eight degrees is a distant memory and a seemingly impossible state of being.

With these cold temperatures comes the City’s inversion layer that is trapped by the prevailing easterly winds against the Wasatch Front Mountain Range. The City air is fouled.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on December 28th, 1853, he observes tree sparrows.

On December 28th, 1951, City Water Commissioner Grant M. Burbidge proposed a plan to the U.S. Public Health Service to improve the city’s drinking water quality, in part, by building a water filtration plant in City Creek Canyon, by adopting water chlorination, and by closing City Creek Canyon to public access (Salt Lake Telegram). On December 28th, 1909, the City entered into a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Forestry Service for the joint protection of and reforestation of City Creek Canyon and Parley’s Canyon (Deseret Evening News). On December 28th, 1892, Salt Lake City Water Patrolmen J.B. O’Reilly reported that, since City Creek Canyon had been closed to hunting to preserve water quality, that deer have congregated in the canyon from surrounding canyon. The deer have sensed that they cannot be hunted there (Salt Lake Herald).

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