SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Snowpack levels are above normal for Utah as December comes to a close, but the state may need more precipitation to pull out of a drought cycle.
According to readings recorded by the National Resource Conservation Service, as of December 30, snowpack levels along the Wasatch Front are between 100 and 110 percent of normal. In areas like Southeastern Utah, snowpack is almost double that.
“We’re doing way better than we were last year, at this time,” said Bryan McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. “We still have the potential to have more of these big systems move in, and hopefully that’s the case for the rest of the winter.”
December storms brought close to three feet of snow to the higher elevations, and more is expected to fall. Darren Hess, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District assistant general manager, said snow is always a welcome sight, but they won’t know until spring if it’s enough for 2016.
“We really don’t know until we get to March or April time frame to see what the runoff is going to do,” Hess said. “[If] we don’t get snow, obviously that hurts us, but there’s a lot of season left still.”
Above average snowpack is also present in surrounding states. A strong El Nino is being cited as a factor in this season’s wet winter.