WEATHER

Here’s what Utah’s snowpack looks like at the start of 2024

Jan 2, 2024, 6:42 AM

snowpack...

Hikers at Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Dec. 1, 2023. Utah's snowpack enters 2024 below normal for every region, but weather and climate models are beginning to point in the state's favor. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s 2024 snowpack remains below normal at the unofficial halfway point of the collection season.

Its statewide average is 3.9 inches of snow water equivalent, about 69% of the median average for New Year’s Day, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data. The holiday is almost the exact halfway point in Utah’s snow collection season, as the state’s water year begins on Oct. 1 annually and the median snowpack collection peak date is April 3, based on data collected between 1991 and 2020.

The current figure, based on data collected at more than 100 different mountain sites spread out across the state, is half of what Utah had collected to begin 2023 and the third-lowest New Year’s Day total over the past decade. The snowpack collection and spring snowmelt cycle account for about 95% of Utah’s water supply.

What’s interesting is that every basin in the state is in a different place to begin the 2024 calendar year. Basins in the northern half of the state are generally closer to normal than basins across central and southern Utah.

The Bear River basin in northeast Utah has collected 5.6 inches of snow water equivalent, about 83% of its median average for New Year’s Day, which is the highest percentage of normal among basins that feed into Utah water sources. The Southwest Utah basin, on the other hand, is listed as having 1.3 inches, about 33% of normal and the lowest percentage of normal among the basins.

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Here’s what Utah’s snowpack looks like at the start of 2024