Monsoon summer is priming Utah water levels for next year

Aug 3, 2023, 2:00 PM

Image of storm moving across Salt Lake City on Wednesday, August 2. All the water that Utah has see...

A storm front moves into Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023. The National Weather Service issued a new flood watch for the Wasatch Front and northern Utah on Wednesday afternoon, piling onto a previous flood watch issued for most of southwest and central Utah earlier in the day. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — All the water that Utah has seen from recent summer rainstorms will impact the water levels we can expect from the 2024 snowpack.

That’s because the water is soaking the soil. When the soil is wet, as opposed to parched (as is the case with soil during drought conditions) more water runs on top of the soil and into bodies of water.

“Once you have soaked the soil, and saturated it, then you get a lot more water running on the top of the soil,” said KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson, “that will make it to tributaries, streams, rivers, and eventually lakes.”

A few more months of rain should be perfect for future Utah water levels

Johnson said that we only need a few more months of rain, and cooler weather, to see those prime winter soil conditions.

“So even if we just get clouds … (and it’s) cooler than normal with a combination of clouds … even if you fell below normal on precipitation in the next two months, leading into fall, you’re still going to have a decent soil moisture,” said Johnson.

In July, Salt Lake saw only 12% of its normal precipitation.  But then the monsoon rains stormed in and on August 2 alone, KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank told the state experienced an entire summer’s worth of precipitation

The rest of August is looking good, too, according to Johnson. He said his long-range models, which look 14- to 20-days out, don’t feature any high temperatures above the low 90s. 

Johnson said he and other experts are expecting a stronger winter this year. And he said that could be the case for the next few years — good news for Utahns who’ve been experiencing a mega-drought for the past two decades.



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Monsoon summer is priming Utah water levels for next year