Mar 8, 2024 - Climate

Salt Lake City's cold streaks are getting shorter

Longest streak of cold winter days in Salt Lake City
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Cold weather streaks in Salt Lake City have been getting three days shorter on average since 1970, according to a report from a new Climate Central analysis.

Why it matters: Few people love chilled-to-the-bone cold snaps — but extended periods of cold weather are key for some farmers and for winter sports lovers, building essential snowpack and more.

The big picture: Cold streaks are largely getting shorter on average nationwide, per a recent report from Climate Central, a climate research and communications nonprofit.

Reality check: Prolonged cold snaps still happen — Salt Lake City's longest of 2023 lasted nine days.

Yes, but: The city's longest cold streak between 1970 and 2023 came in 1989, lasting 42 days.

What they did: Climate Central defines a "winter cold streak" as "at least two consecutive December-February days with average temperatures below the 1991-2020 winter normal average temperature" at a given location.

What they found: "Winter's longest cold streaks have gotten shorter since 1970 in 98% of 240 U.S. locations analyzed," per the report.

  • "Nearly half of the locations analyzed ... have seen their longest winter cold streaks shrink by at least one week since 1970."
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