Water Authorities Assess Snowpack Situation, Flooding Potential Statewide

Apr 9, 2019, 6:52 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah —  As the storm picked up today, water managers and hydrologists got together to talk about Utah’s phenomenal snowpack and what it means for our water resources, and even flooding, this spring.

In spite of the persistent drought that gripped Utah last fall, the water situation statewide is very good. Water managers are even releasing some of the runoff.

At high elevation, today’s storm is still adding to the snowpack. That will help fill reservoirs, but also raise the possibility of flooding.

“We’re in really good shape water wise for Utah,” said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

Right now, Utah has twice as much snow as it did last year—one of the three best water years in the past decade. Statewide, snowpack is 140% of normal, ranging from 100% to more than 190%.

Just last fall, Utah’s water situation was dire.

“It was the worst water year on record, and we were all very nervous—hoping for a good snow pack to replenish the reservoirs, and it looks like we got that snowpack,” said Troy Brosten, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The hydrologists agree there is enough water in the snowpack to re-charge nearly every reservoir across the state, with the exception of Strawberry Reservoir and Lake Powell, Which will come up to about 40% by midsummer.

“That means we could have some flooding due to spring snowmelt runoff,” said McInerney, “and we don’t want to see that.”

Deep snowpack and late spring melt-offs are good for reservoir storage, but can also lead to flooding.

“If we continue to add to the snowpack through April and into the first or second week of May, we could have some problems with the infrastructure: roads, bridges, some of the houses that are close to the rivers.”

Water managers are expecting so much runoff in Pineview, Scofield and East Canyon Reservoirs, they’re releasing water now to make room for runoff.

“We’re going to have to let a little bit of water out. We even have excess coming in in some places,” said Gary Henrie, Bureau of Reclamation Civil Engineer.

They will release at other reservoirs, if necessary. Using dams to store water and control flooding.

“Take the peak off some of the high runoff that we see and pass it safely down stream,” said Henrie.

Peak flows from high elevation run-off will pick up in May and carry into June and July. Whenever you’re near the water, keep a close eye on kids because the run-off can be deadly.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both

7 hours ago

The Utah State Hospital sign in Provo, Utah....

Daniel Woodruff

A developer has big plans for the Utah State Hospital property

The latest effort to move the Utah State Hospital for a new development plan has failed this legislative session.

7 hours ago

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah Senate rejects effort to end ranked choice voting early

Utah’s experiment with ranked choice voting will continue after a bill that would have ended the pilot program two years early failed to pass.

8 hours ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

10 hours ago

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

11 hours ago

A mother holding a newborn in a hospital bed...

Shelby Lofton

Utah family chooses Leap Day for their daughter’s birthday

A Utah family celebrated the birth of their new baby girl who was born on a day that only comes every four years.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Water Authorities Assess Snowpack Situation, Flooding Potential Statewide