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Rare June freeze warning issued for parts of Utah; wind tied to some of 6,500 outages

SALT LAKE CITY — Summer might start this week, but a low-pressure system arriving in Utah is forecast to make some parts of the state feel quite wintry.

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for the Cache Valley and Wasatch Backcountry, including Heber City, Huntsville, Logan, Park City and Smithfield, where temperatures are forecast to reach as low as 28-30 degrees late Monday and early Tuesday.

“Frost and freeze conditions could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing,” the warning states. “Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.”

The freeze warning is the latest alert tied to a cold front moving through Utah Monday evening. It’s the “southern trailing end” of a larger storm system dumping snow and rain through parts of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank explained.

Utah won’t get the same type of moisture as areas north of it, but the cold front is bringing temperatures down across Utah’s northern half. In fact, the temperature in Logan had dropped to 51 degrees by 5 p.m. Monday, while it was 96 degrees in St. George.

Eubank said near-freezing and below-freezing overnight temperatures are likely across northern Utah and southern Idaho.

“It’s a big-time cool front that we’re dealing with across the region,” he said. “That cool air is going to funnel into northern Utah. … That could cause some harm to some of our agriculture folks up in the northern side of the state just because we don’t get that cold this late in the season, but (Monday night/Tuesday morning), it’s going to do that.”

Wind woes

The cold front’s arrival caused the wind to pick up across the state on Monday. Wind gusts of 73 mph were recorded in Wendover, and gusts between 50 mph and 60 mph were recorded throughout other parts of the state. The weather service issued high wind warnings for the Utah and Tooele valleys and the West Desert.

Federal forecasts advise that strong winds can move loose debris, potentially causing property damage and power outages. Rocky Mountain Power listed over 6,500 outages across Salt Lake and Utah counties on its website by late Monday afternoon.

Rocky Mountain Power spokesman David Eskelsen said crews were still assessing damage, but wind caused multiple power issues in Utah County. Saratoga Springs officials reported that a power line had fallen in the city, blocking all lanes on Pioneer Crossing. Its farmers market planned for Monday was moved to Tuesday because of the wind.

Eskelsen said that there was another outage closer to Millcreek caused by a damaged pole, but it wasn’t immediately clear as of Monday evening if the damage was wind-related.

The Utah Symphony announced its Sandy Amphitheater concert planned for Monday night is canceled because of the wind. It posted that it hopes to reschedule the free event.

All of the weather service’s wind warnings are set to expire by 9 p.m. Monday as the cold front moves on through.

The weather service also issued a series of red flag warnings across southern Utah, where strong winds, hot temperatures and low relative humidity merged into higher wildfire danger. That warning also expires Monday night.

A quick return to summer weather

As for the rest of the week, high temperatures may only top out in the upper 60s and lower 70s across the Wasatch Front and northern Utah on Tuesday, but the cooldown won’t last long. Eubank said there will be a “rapid rebound” after that, as high temperatures return to the mid-80s on Wednesday and upper 90s by the weekend.

“It didn’t take long to cool off, and it won’t take long to warm back up,” he said. “Those are some extreme swings in the temperatures.”

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online at the KSL Weather Center.

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