Utah is a state located in the western United States. It is one of the Four Corners states, and is bordered by Idaho and Wyoming in the north; by Colorado in the east; at a single point by New Mexico to the southeast; by Arizona in the south; and by Nevada in the west. It covers an area of 84,899 square miles. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,500,000 people live in an urban concentration with Salt Lake City as the center, known as the Wasatch Front. The state is generally rocky with three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. Utah is known for its natural diversity and is home to features ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys.
One of Utah's defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the center of the state is the Wasatch Range. In the northeastern section of the state, running east to west, are the Uinta Mountains. The highest point in the state, Kings Peak, lies within these mountains. Western Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range geology. Small mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape. Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in the state, while the eastern part is a high elevation area covered mostly by plateaus and basins.
Most of Utah is arid and high in elevation. The eastern and southern parts receive 12 inches or less of precipitation per year, while many mountain areas receive more than 40 inches per year. During summer and fall, most of the precipitation is received from the storms coming from the south and consists of short, sporadic, and intense thunderstorms that can cause wildfires and flash floods. Most precipitation during the rest of the year is received from the Pacific Ocean. Spring is the wettest season across the north while late summer and early fall are the wettest times in the south. During winter, temperatures are below freezing and snowfall is common everywhere except the southern border and the Great Salt Lake Desert.