SALT LAKE CITY – (ABC 4) – We’ve welcomed October in Salt Lake City with beautiful, slightly below average temperatures and dry conditions.
Oct. 1 marks the beginning of our new water year, and after the hottest summer on record and historic drought conditions, the state as a whole would benefit from an active storm pattern with plenty of rain and snow.
September is our last month of the water year, and in Salt Lake, we only had four days of measurable moisture. We were significantly below our average of 1.06″ for the month, only receiving 0.17″ of rain for September, and lower monthly precipitation totals greatly impact our water year.
Our latest water year has come to an end in Salt Lake City and the final numbers are grim.
In a normal water year, Salt Lake City averages 15.52″ from Oct. 1 to Sep. 30. For the water year beginning on Oct. 1, 2020, to Sep. 30, 2021, Salt Lake City received just 10.98″ of precipitation. This makes it the 17th driest water year on record for the city. Records date back to 1874. The Salt Lake City total is also only .02″ more water than the 2019-2020 water year, which ended up at 10.96.”
Have we been drier? Yes. Are we a desert climate? Yes. Water is one of Utah’s most precious resources, and looking back over the last decade, this year is the third driest. We only beat out by the 2017-2018 season, as well as last year. The water year beginning on Oct. 1, 2017, and ending on Sep. 30, 2018, brought only 10.5″ of precipitation to Salt Lake City making it the 9th driest water year on record for the city.
In the last eleven years, our best year and one of the wettest years on record: 2010-2011. That season, 23.64″ of precipitation fell, making it the 4th wettest water year ever. We also saw healthy totals in the 2018-2019 season, with Salt Lake picking more than 21.5″ of rain.
One of the best ways to view Utah’s water scenario is by visualizing it as a savings bank account. When we have water in our reservoirs, we’ve got money in the bank. Wet weather can be viewed as deposits, but dry conditions, leave us drawing from our savings. We are battling back to back dry years, which left us draining our savings, and we saw water restrictions as a result. As we move forward, an active storm pattern this Autumn and Winter would be beneficial to the state.
We did see a strong monsoon season this year. You may remember, flash flooding at our National Parks and in our Southern Utah communities like Cedar City, Delta, and St. George. The summer rains did help chip away at the drought monitor in the Southern portion of the state, and it did allow for some Southern Utah cities to see above-average monthly precipitation totals. For example, St. George picked up 0.72″ of rain for the month of September, while Salt Lake had a meager 0.17.” As we close this water year and start anew, one-fifth of Utah remains in an exceptional drought, with the Wasatch Front included in this category.
For storm updates, stay with the Pinpoint Weather Team on-air and online. We are There4You!