WEATHER

First major storm of the season delivers massive snow totals to Utah’s mountains

Dec 4, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2023, 2:44 pm

snow falls at a utah ski resort...

Snow falls by the John Paul Lodge at Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville. (Snowbasin Resort)

(Snowbasin Resort)

SALT LAKE CITY— It hasn’t been the fastest start to the season for snowfall, but this latest storm, at least for now, completely flipped the script.

KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson reported Monday morning the following snow totals from the storm spanning Friday to early Monday morning:

  • Snowbird: 53 inches
  • Alta: 50 inches
  • Powder Mountain: 43 inches
  • Brighton: 42 inches
  • Snowbasin: 41 inches
  • Sundance: 36 inches
  • Solitude: 35 inches
  • Park City Mountain: 29 inches
  • Beaver Mountain: 29 inches
  • Nordic Valley: 29 inches
  • Cherry Peak: 28 inches
  • Deer Valley: 20 inches
  • Eagle Point: 11 inches
  • Brian Head: 5 inches

The impact of this storm

Before the storm started Friday, Utah’s statewide snow water equivalent — the amount of water within the snowpack — was 46% below normal at 1.4 inches, according to official state snowpack data.

However, after the storm, the statewide snow water equivalent is 114% at 3.2 inches.

While people might think we’re in the clear after seeing those numbers; think again.

“I definitely would keep expectations in check,” Johnson said. “This was a great storm, [but] it isn’t necessarily an indication of what’s to come for the rest of winter.”

Johnson also said one of the reasons the numbers changed so much so quickly is because of how early in the season it is.

With so little snow on the ground in December, compared to peak snowpack in April, “You can easily sway the numbers with one or two storms,” he said.

However, Johnson made it clear, he thinks this storm did have a big impact despite it being early in the season.

One main reason is that the storm brought so much moisture. That’s why the snow water equivalent jumped so much.

As much as Utahns love their fluffy powder, wet storms are what impact Utah’s water supply.

What needs to happen next?

Utahns know one storm doesn’t make a great winter. Johnson said ideally, we want to get a storm about once a week to keep the pace for a healthy spring runoff.

As for what this winter will look like, Johnson said Utahns should not expect to see non-stop storms like last year.

A record year is a record for a reason. It isn’t normal.

Johnson said this year has, so far, been normal for Utah and that there’s plenty of potential for the “hose to open up” in the coming months.

“Keep this cycle going…one [storm] a week… we’ll be golden,” Johnson said.

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First major storm of the season delivers massive snow totals to Utah’s mountains