Experts say April 3 is typically when Utah reaches its peak statewide snowpack numbers and the mountain ranges are buried in deep snow.
“This has been a year to remember. This is just unbelievable. The snowpack this year has been off the charts, certainly since we put in the SNOTEL system in the early 1980s. We haven’t seen anything like this,” said Jordan Clayton, supervisor of the Utah Snow Survey.
Officials with the Utah Snow Survey Program say they are the snowfall this season will likely surpass any record snowfall amounts reported since the 1930s.
“What we’re navigating right now, we’re doing some data checking right now to see if we’ve surpassed, or getting close to surpassing, the 1952 record snowpack that was measured at our manual measurement locations,” Clayton said.
In 1952, the manual readings at 61 locations were measured once a month and came out to 28.8 inches of Snow Water Equivalent.
“These days, we have data from every hour, but back at that time, those were just measured once per month, so what we’re going to do is compare where we still have data from those 61 locations, we’re going to compare what are current values look like to those 1952 numbers to see if we’ve truly broken that record,” Clayton said.
Today’s snow water equivalent for the state is 28.7 inches.
“We’ve blown the previous record, which was 26 from 1983. We’ve blown that record out of the water,” said Clayton.
The record snowpack has made a huge improvement in drought conditions across the state.
“The first of the year, we had 56% of the state in the two worst categories of drought — ‘extreme’ and ‘exceptional’,” said Laura Haskell, drought coordinator with the Division of Water Resources. “We’re completely out of those two worst categories of drought and things just keep improving as the spring goes on and we continue to get more water.”
The April Water Supply Outlook will be out in the next few days. The report will detail a volumetric forecast for the state snowpack which will calculate just how much runoff agencies can plan on through July of this year.