Greatest snow on Earth: Utah’s snowpack hits record high

Mar 24, 2023, 3:42 PM | Updated: 3:52 pm

(Chopper 5/KSL TV)...

(Chopper 5/KSL TV)

(Chopper 5/KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Things are about as good as it can get for the Greatest Snow on Earth: Utah has set a record for its statewide snowpack, passing the previous mark set 40 years ago.

Data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service showed Utah’s statewide snowpack hit 26.1″ of snow water equivalent on Friday — besting 1983’s record of 26 inches.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Matthew Johnson (@ksl_matt)

KSL.com reported Utah’s forecast calls for cooler and wetter conditions for the rest of the week. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center projections indicate a higher probability for more storm action to close out the month, as well, so the record is likely to go even higher.

As more snow moves into the state, two Utah ski resorts celebrated a huge milestone they haven’t seen in years: hitting 700 inches of snowfall in a season.

A new banner unveiled downtown Wednesday stretches 58 feet from the ground. On the Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City hotel connected to the Salt Palace Convention Center on West Temple, the banner reaches the hotel’s fourth story and gives a good idea of what 700 inches means.

With the record snowpack, several Utah resorts announced they will be extending their seasons. Memorial Day weekend skiing is a possibility, and no resorts have ruled out 4th of July snow events.

However, how much more snow Utah gets or how quickly it warms up can impact those plans — as well as any spring flooding.

Residents and emergency preparedness managers in northern and southern Utah are preparing for potential flooding with sandbags, clearing debris and watching river and creek levels as that snowpack makes its way to the state’s reservoirs and lakes.

“There’s the potential for dozens of these kinds of snags to be along the various creeks across the county,” said Salt Lake County Emergency Management director Clint Mecham. “That’s why engineering and flood control are as aggressively as possible trying to get out and get these things cleared out.”

Drought impact

What kind of dent does this make in the drought?

Jordan Clayton, snow survey supervisor for Utah, said runoff will likely fill Utah’s small and medium-sized reservoirs, and most basins will have above-average surface water supplies this summer.

(Utah DNR)

The state is still recovering from a cumulative precipitation deficit, and it would take another winter like this one to wipe that out.  On the drought monitor, Utah is no longer in exceptional drought, and only 1% of the state is still in extreme drought.

“We’re not out of the drought. But we’re not seeing that phenomenally terrible drought condition that we had a couple of years ago across the state,” Clayton said.

Peak snowpack still depends on the weather. Clayton said the peak may occur in mid-April rather than early April due to the cool temperatures and additional snowfall.

Excluding Lake Powell & Flaming Gorge, the Utah Division of Water Resources said Utah’s reservoirs were at 55% capacity as of Thursday. Lake Powell is at 22% capacity, down from 25% at this time last year. Flaming Gorge sits at 66% capacity, down from 77% last March.

KSL 5 TV Live


Deer Creek Reservoir...

Ladd Egan

Deer Creek, Jordanelle nearing capacity; releasing extra water

Those heading outdoors this holiday weekend will notice that many of Utah’s reservoirs are nearing capacity.

2 days ago

Big Cottonwood Creek...

Jed Boal

High mountain snow melt fills rivers and creeks as peak runoff nears

The high-elevation snowpack in Utah is melting quickly. The low-elevation and mid-elevation snow has already melted and run off into creeks and rivers.

2 days ago

Eroding banks are roped off as the Weber River swells from  a melting snowpack in Fort Buenaventura...

Tamara Vaifanua

Park managers urge safety around rivers, lakes during Memorial Day weekend

Keeping people safe in and around water is a big concern for park managers this holiday weekend.

2 days ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Eliza Pace

Road along Nebo Loop completely washes out

A portion of the road up Payson Canyon along an area of the Nebo Loop has completely washed out.

3 days ago

Washed out road...

Mike Anderson

Flood warning for Logan River through Friday morning

A flood warning was issued for the Logan River on Tuesday and it's expected to last through late Friday morning.

4 days ago

'Flatline fire'...

Tamara Vaifanua

What is ‘light flashing fuel’ and why it concerns firefighters this summer

Utah’s record-setting snowfall this past winter is not enough to take away the concerns for the upcoming fire season, according to one firefighter.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Asian little girl playing arcade game on the computer machines at the shopping mall outlets...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

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.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

Greatest snow on Earth: Utah’s snowpack hits record high