National Weather Service says storms this week won’t dent drought much

Mar 22, 2021, 5:45 PM
Drivers in parts of Salt Lake and Tooele counties could be facing some winter driving conditions du...
The National Weather Service building in Salt Lake City. (Paul Nelson)
(Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City says the storms this week won’t do much to dig into Utah’s drought conditions. And the spring outlook isn’t looking much better.

“The storms that we’re predicting over the next week’s time it’s going to be unsettled and cool, but they’re not significant enough to dig us out of that hole that we’re already in,” said Meteorologist Glen Merill.
Merill says all the rain we get from here through early April is very much needed for the snowpack. He also tells KSL the snowpack statewide is sitting at about 70-80% of normal for this time of year.
“So we only have a few more weeks to build up that last 20% so the chances of us getting to a normal snowpack at this point, are — really we’re only sitting at about a 10% chance of that happening.”
The snowpack is what fills the storage in Utah’s reservoirs, but it’s the soil moisture conditions that also play into how much water flows into them.
“Our soil moisture is at unprecedented dry levels right now,” Merill said.
That means when the snow melts, the water will absorb into the soil and less will fill the reservoirs. Merrill says the water supply forecast across the state is at about 40-60% of normal right now.
“Not only do we not have enough snow, the soil is so dry that when we melt the snow we’re expecting even lower water volumes for storage than we typically see.”

Urging Utahns to Conserve Water

Governor Spencer Cox recently declared an emergency drought declaration for Utah. Monday, the Division of Water Resources also reminded Utahns to conserve water going into the spring.
“Fix leaks, take shorter showers, run full loads, don’t let the water run, and delay outdoor watering as long as possible,” the PSA states.
They also provided a summary of other drought facts.
· 100% of Utah is in drought – which is extremely concerning for this time of year. · Despite recent storms, this winter’s snowpack (about 70% of average) hasn’t provided enough to offset the record dry conditions we saw last summer and fall. For snowpack to reach average, Utah’s mountains would need to receive the remaining 30% before it starts to melt significantly, typically the first week in April. There is around a 10% chance of this occurring. · Below-average snowpack and extremely dry soils will likely result in well-below normal runoff, making conservation more important than ever. · Finding ways to reduce water use is critical as we move into the summer months.

Spring Outlook

Merrill said Utah would need an “active storm cycle through May” to keep as much of the water in the snowpack as possible and help aid in moistening the soil before the snow melts. This would mean more runoff would make it to the reservoirs.
Cooler temperatures with wetter conditions are what we need to get there. But, Merrill says the forecasts aren’t looking good for Utah’s drought.
“Current outlooks through the remainder of the spring are actually forecasting above normal temperatures and most likely below normal precipitation,” he said.


Other Reading:

Gov. Cox declares Utah’s drought a state of emergency

Snow rollers, a rare weather phenomenon, turn up in Brigham City

Utah prepared for extreme weather conditions, Texas was not


Today’s Top Stories


Portions of Salt Lake County saw fog on Tuesday morning, a weather phenomenon that doesn't typicall...
Allie Litzinger and Simone Seikaly

Great Salt Lake, moisture created Tuesday’s commuter fog and maybe Wednesday’s

Moisture in the air and proximity to the Great Salt Lake, and the lake's temperature, all combined for Tuesday's foggy commute.
2 days ago
A snowy mountain with trees is pictured, avalanche risk is measured often this time of year...
Adam Small

How do forecasters determine avalanche risk?

Determining the avalanche risk for any given day takes coordination between avalanche forecasters and the National Weather Service.
2 days ago
The view at Snowbasin Resort....
Alejandro Lucero

Avalanche safety should be on everyone’s mind says forecaster

An avalanche avoidance and preperation can help keep everyone safe while enjoying the greatest snow on Earth.
3 days ago
drivers make a snowy commute up little cottonwood canyon as utah weather keeps dumping snow...
Adam Small

Wasatch Front gets snow, Utah drivers get tough commute

Snowy weather conditions brought early-morning drivers in Utah some rough commutes on Monday. Utah County got the worst of it.
3 days ago
Hari Bastakoti shovels a sidewalk following a snowstorm in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022...
Chandler Holt

After a cold November, Utah prepares for another storm

After a colder November than years past, a cold front (potentially bringing storm conditions) is on the horizon for Utah.
4 days ago
(Photo courtesy of Snowbird Ski Resort)...
Chandler Holt

Avalanche at Snowbird caused by skier, no injuries

On Saturday, an avalanche roared down the slopes at Snowbird Ski Resort. Several people were caught and carried by the avalanche, but no one was buried.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
National Weather Service says storms this week won’t dent drought much