“Every bit helps, and having a really good monsoon is definitely a positive,” said Meteorologist Christine Kruse with National Weather Service.
But drought conditions, she says, persist.
“We don’t want to let our guard down that the drought is over, or that we’ve had a significant improvement in the drought,” said Kruse.
Kruse says soil moisture was nearing an all-time low as we approached July. The rain, she says, helped get that soil moisture closer to normal. What’s important for drought, she says, isn’t necessarily summer precipitation — it’s snowpack and runoff.
“Now instead of record dry, we have more normal soil moistures,” said Kruse.
“The monsoon we’ve had so far — because it’s increased soil moisture — if we can maintain that, that would be a really good thing because when we have the snow melt in the winter and into the spring, then we won’t lose so much of that water just to moisten the soil. It will go into our rivers and streams and into our reservoirs,” added Kruse.
“We heavily rely on our snowpack, and so the biggest impact is what we see for snow,” said Kruse.
Wildfire danger in Southern Utah improved, experts say, but gains in Northern Utah — which received less precipitation — could be fleeting.
“It could definitely bounce back much quicker. Especially in those heavier fuels we’re already getting those fire starts,” said Basil Newmerzhycky, lead meteorologist with Bureau of Land Management.