SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – So far this winter December storms were able to make a great impact on Utah’s snowpack despite the ongoing drought. Put simply, a snowpack is all of that excess snow that has runoff of mountains or fallen on the ground that does not melt for months due to below-freezing temperatures.
In Utah, 95% of our water supply comes from snowpack which builds up in the winter and then melts during the warmer months. It’s necessary for Utah to experience above-average snowfall so that we have enough water to fill our reservoirs.
As of Jan. 14, there are still 82 days until the snowpack in Utah typically peaks.
Utah has been downgraded from exceptional drought status to extreme drought status, with 31.81% of the state still experiencing extreme drought.
The current statewide snow water equivalent (SWE), or how much runoff water would be produced if the snowpack melted, is at 9 inches. Those 9 inches only account for 56% of Utah’s median peak, which often takes place around the start of April.
Additionally, 35% of Utah’s largest 45 reservoirs are below 55% of available capacity, while the overall statewide storage is at 52% capacity. At this time last year, reservoirs were at roughly 62% of capacity.
Soil moisture, a necessity for effective spring runoff, is nearly 11% above the median for this time of year.
Twenty-three of the 65 streams measured were flowing below normal.