Utah (ABC4) — According to the latest National Weather Service report on Tuesday, Utah’s drought conditions continue to improve, but it still isn’t out of danger quite yet.

According to the NWS report, this is the ninth wettest year to date from 1894-2023. The driest year on record was 2020, and by the end of 2020, 90% of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Weather Service report measures drought levels in these 5 levels:

  • D0 = Abnormally dry
    • Dryland crops are struggling
    • Water for cattle is limited
  • D1= Moderate drought
    • Soil moisture is low; winter wheat germination is poor
    • Springs are drying
    • Feed for cattle is limited
  • D2 = Severe Drought
    • Pasture and water are inadequate for cattle; ranching management practices change
    • Air quality is poor; dust is a problem
    • Streams and ponds are dry
  • D3= Extreme Drought
    • Fire danger increases; fire bans on public land are implemented
    • Native vegetation is stressed
    • Streamflow is low
  • D4= Exceptional Drought
    • Fire restrictions increase
    • Irrigation water allotments are cut

Utah has been improving in its areas of more extreme drought. According to the NWS report, only 3.9% of Utah is in D3-extreme drought conditions. Last month 18.5% of Utah was in D3-extreme drought conditions. None of Utah is in D4-exceptional drought levels.

As of right now, almost half of Utah is in D2-severe drought at 48.7%. However, that is a lower percentage of Utah in severe drought than last week’s measurements, and significantly lower than the previous month’s.

Last week, 53% of Utah was classified as being in D2-severe drought, which means that 4.3% of Utah’s conditions have improved this week, and compared to last month’s 74% in D2-severe drought, 25.3% of Utah’s conditions have improved this month.

Utah has improved in its D1-moderate level as well. Last week 96.3% of the state was in D1-moderate drought, but now that has decreased to 89.2%. Most of that area has improved and moved to the D0 -abnormally dry level, and some areas have moved out of drought entirely.

According to NWS’s report, 1.9% of Utah has moved out of drought conditions this week alone. 99.35% was in at least a D0-level of drought last month, but this week that level has improved to only 97.4% of Utah in a drought.

USDA Utah’s snow water equivalent

And Utah is doing great when it comes to snow water equivalent, as you can see on the update from the United States National Water and Climate Center. Most of Utah is over 150% of median snow water equivalent values as compared to previous years.