Utah reservoir levels are good with more precipitation on the horizon

Feb 11, 2020, 5:17 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm
Utah reservoir levels are good with more precipitation on the horizon, Car plunged into Jordan Rive...
(Water levels at the Jordan River in Salt Lake City. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Water levels at the Jordan River in Salt Lake City. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – This year Utah reservoir levels are looking quite good according to the National Weather Service.  But, does that mean we should be worried about flooding, later?  Water watchers say it’s too soon to know, for sure, but they’re always keeping an eye out for potential problems.

The National Weather Service briefed meteorologists and hydrologists about snowpack and water levels within reservoirs, and, for the most part, the news was very good.  Portions of the state that were in drought conditions are now out thanks to storms that have pounded most of Utah.  Hydrologist Brian McInerney says southern portions received their year’s supply of water in just two storm cycles.

“We’re in above-average conditions in our reservoirs for this time of year.  It’s higher this year than we were last year, at this time,” McInerney says.

It doesn’t look like the storms are going to stop, either.  McInerney says we appear to be in an active weather pattern that could bring more precipitation through March.

He says, “Is high pressure going to be our dominant weather feature, shut off the flow and shunt everything into Canada, then we’ll be high and dry?  It doesn’t look like that’s the case at all.”

However, even when the snowpack looks great in the winter, it could cause flooding problems in the spring.  It all depends on how warm temperatures get in April and May.

Ryan Roland with the Utah Water Science Center says they’ve recently unveiled a new interactive map that makes it easier to find out how close rivers and streams are to flood levels.

“You used to have to scroll through a list of all of our stream gauges and click on the one that was of interest to you.  Now, this clickable map makes things easier for folks,” Roland says.

Users can click on gauges across Utah which provide current information about water sources in their area.

He adds, “That will bring up a graph of the real-time flow information.”

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Utah reservoir levels are good with more precipitation on the horizon