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The Utah drought is nothing to laugh at, but experts say it could be worse

Pink water washes over a salt crust on May 4, 2021, along the receding edge of the Great Salt Lake. The lake has been shrinking for years, and a drought gripping the American West could make this year the worst yet. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Make no mistake. The current drought that the state of Utah is experiencing is a difficult situation.  Reservoirs are shrinking, as is the Great Salt Lake. And while not the most important thing, lawns that are typically a lush green are a little more yellow.

And with just four weeks left in the typical water year (or the nine months of the year when water typically collects on the ground and in bodies of water) Utah is in a less-than-ideal situation.

However, as the old adage goes, things could always be worse.

1930s drought in Utah

Things were much worse back in the 1930s, according to KSL-TV meteorologist Grant Weyman. Utah saw below-average precipitation every year in the decade of the 1930s.

“Certainly, standing as the most devastating time in terms of drought,” he said. “(And) not (just) for us, but for many states back in that time.”

However, Weyman said that Utah’s current drought is comparable to what the state saw nearly 100 years ago. 

“This is certainly been a dry year so far,” he said.

Utah would be in an even worse situation if not for the month of August. According to Weyman, Salt Lake City received almost four times as much rain during August as it usually does. 

The average amount of precipitation in Salt Lake City during the month of August is .58 inches. Last month, Salt Lake City received 2.29 inches of rain. According to Weyman, it was the wettest August in 38 years. 

Yet despite all the rain last month, it will take a couple more storms before the end of the month to prevent this water year from going down in Utah history as one of the top 10 worst.

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