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No lack of snowpack-measuring snow at 10,000 feet

Local News

TRIAL LAKE, Utah (ABC4 News) – What a winter! Did you know that what happens weather wise for the next few weeks is incredibly important for Utah snowpack? Our snowpack numbers remain above average, especially with the arrival of March winter storms.

The state snow survey tracks snow totals at several different mountain locations in order to know what’s in store for our spring runoff conditions. One of the most important locations is Trial Lake above Mirror Lake Highway. 

” It goes back to the 1930s, it’s at the headwater at 4 major tributaries, 4 major water basins,  The Provo, the Weber, the Bear, and Duchesne,”  said Troy Brosten, a snow survey hydrologist.

The Snow Survey monitors mountain snowpack and provides streamflow forecasts for the western United States. Our worst year on record was 1977, last year, we were only about 65 percent of average, but this year has been one to remember.

“Compared to previous years, the north is about 10 inches less than what it was in 2017 and snowpack is double what we had last year at this time in the North and the South is doing much better,” said Brosten.

Trial Lake serves as the head waters of four major Northern Utah watersheds. It’s the start of the Bear, Weber, Duchesne and Provo rivers. Measuring snow inches not only allows us to track snowfall but weighing the snow sampler before and after the snow is inside, gives us the amount of water present in the snow.

The water yield is important because it is a look at whether or not our reservoirs will completely fill. This year, we expect all reservoirs to fill. How quickly is now up to the weather pattern. A stormy, cold, wet end to March keeps our snowpack around, but we have to recognize what’s ahead.

“We will keep our snowpack the right amount of time, so we don’t have to worry about runoff or early melt off. Then we started thinking if it keeps accumulating, then we start thinking about flooding possibilities,” said Brosten. 

For more information on our storm pattern, stay with Utah’s Most Accurate forecast on ABC4 News. The snow survey will measure twice more at Trial Lake. The beginning of April is typically when the melting season begins. 

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