LOCAL NEWS

Snow survey hydrologist: Utah is off to a great start, but snow needs to keep coming

Nov 7, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There was a flurry of excitement Monday among weather watchers in Utah because of the snow and rain that has already arrived and the fact that there is more in the forecast. Due to the extended drought, the region really needs a snowy winter.

Right now, snowpack in nearly every basin in the state is well above average. But this time of season, it doesn’t take much snow on the ground to be above average. The Utah Snow Survey Supervisor has a number in mind that would make a dent in the drought.

“It’s fantastic,” Hydrologist Jordan Clayton said about the snowfall so far. “We are off to a nice, early start with our snowpack. We’re seeing a really good boost to our snow water totals, and that’s nice to see.”

While snowpack looks promising in the first week of November, Clayton is quick to remind everyone that snowpack and snow water equivalent numbers don’t mean much this early in the snow season.

“Normally, we only have a very small amount of snow water equivalent on the mountain, or snow depth,” he said. “When we get an early storm like this, it blows up those percentages to these extreme numbers that aren’t really useful and are kind of silly, like 500% of normal doesn’t really make sense.”

Those numbers mean more deeper in season when they provide some perspective. But under the circumstances of an extended drought, he’s optimistic about the good start to the water year.

“It is nice to get this early boost of snowpack on the ground in October,” Clayton said.

Some of the snow that landed during the past week is already melting off at mid and low elevation.

“That’s also OK because we expect a lot more snow to come, and that’s helping boost our soil moisture, which had dipped a little bit as well,” the hydrologist said. “So good news all around.”

As for water storage, average statewide reservoir capacity is 42%.

“That does not include Powell and Flaming Gorge. So, we really need to do well from a snowpack perspective to boost some of those reservoir totals to bring a lot of water into our system,” Clayton said.

So, what would it take to make a dent in the drought?

“This is the number to put in your head,” the hydrologist said. “We want to get about 150% of normal precipitation statewide. So, if we can hit that benchmark, that will do a really nice job getting us closer to catching up from the multiple years deficit that we’ve gotten ourselves in at this point.”

He admits that’s a big number, but Utah had near record snowpack in 2011 and 2017.

“From a statewide level, about 150% of normal, that will really help a lot,” Clayton said. “That’s a lot of snow, but I think we can do it.”

So, Utah needs the snow to keep coming.

Clayton pointed out we had a good start last year that fizzled in January. He’s hopeful the weather this year delivers more promising patterns.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
19 hours ago
The large herd of about 60 elk near the mouth of Parley's Canyon on Thursday. (Utah Department of W...
Michael Houck

DWR officials warn of migrating elk entering Salt Lake City

A migrating herd of approximately 60 elk is causing problems for residents and drivers near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
19 hours ago
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Pat Reavy

Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.
19 hours ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Sandy man threatened to kill parents after shooting TVs, police say

A Sandy man was charged Friday with shooting two televisions and threatening to kill his parents and go on a killing spree.
19 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
KSL.com

West Jordan man arrested in child porn, voyeurism investigation

A man who described himself to police as being highly skilled with computers has been arrested for allegedly possessing child porn and placing hidden cameras in his home.
19 hours ago
A former administrator of a popular Facebook group used for inviting singles to parties was ordered...
KSL.com

West Jordan man ordered to stand trial in sexual assaults at party for singles

A former administrator of a popular Facebook group used for inviting singles to parties and other events was ordered Friday to stand trial on multiple charges of rape and sexual abuse.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Snow survey hydrologist: Utah is off to a great start, but snow needs to keep coming