Eubank gazes into snow globe to predict spring runoff in Utah

Apr 5, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:53 pm


Spring runoff continues to erodeda section of Fox Hollow Golf Club in American Fork on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah had a good water year. Alta ski resort recorded its wettest February ever. But on Wednesday, Salt Lake City officially hit 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. What does this warmup portend for spring runoff? 

Of course, the year before was a monster snow year with big-time runoff (see photo).

But KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank says this year is good, too, as the snowpack stands at over 100 percent of normal statewide. 


“We have an incredible water year. We are sitting at 130%,” Eubank said. “The good news is remember last year was so crazy. It was such a huge epic year, but we were coming on the heels of the drought, so we needed every bit of that water. This year’s different. We’ve actually got really good groundwater, really good reservoir storage.”

But managing the spring runoff in Utah is all about timing and temperature, he said.

“Yes, there’s plenty of snow up there. Yes, we’re going to have a good runoff. But you know what? It’s timing. It’s everything. If we were to go to 90 degrees next week, we’d have massive flooding, but we’re not going to do that,” Eubank said.

He added that water flow is now being released from reservoirs to make room for melting snow.

A spring cooling-and-warming pattern, which is typical this time of year in Utah, modulates the runoff so the snowpack doesn’t come flowing down the mountains all at once, according to Eubank.

Last year on April 3 and 4, Salt Lake City saw 14 inches of snow fall, 2 feet fell on the Bountiful benches and the mountains picked up 4 feet of snow.

“Last year on this date, it was in the 30s and snowing like crazy,” Eubank said.

Look for snow of less than 1 inch in the northern valley on Saturday morning, he said. However, by Friday the temperatures should rebound back into the 70s.

“So our spring weather is all about extremes,” Eubank said.

Related: Northern Utah snowpack, water in good shape ahead of spring runoff

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Eubank gazes into snow globe to predict spring runoff in Utah