SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – We’ve welcomed October in Salt Lake City with beautiful, above-average temperatures and extremely dry conditions. October 1 marks the beginning of our new water year, and after a very dry summer, 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 two days of measurable moisture. We were more than an inch below our average of 1.21″ and low monthly numbers greatly impact our water year.
Our latest water year has come to an end in Salt Lake City and the final numbers are depressing. In a normal water year, Salt Lake City averages 16.1″ from October 1 to September 30. For the water year beginning on October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020, Salt Lake City received just 10.96″ of precipitation. This would make it the 16th driest water year on record for the city. Records date back to 1874.
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 second driest. We only beat out by the 2017-2018 season. For the water year beginning on October 1, 2017, and ending on September 30, 2018, Salt Lake City received 10.5″ of precipitation making it the 9th driest water year on record for the city.
In the last ten years, our best year was a decade ago, 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.
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 don’t want dry years back to back, that would drain our savings, so an active storm pattern into Autumn and Winter would be helpful moving forward.