Warmer temperatures melt snowpack, create concerns about Utah’s water levels

Posted at 8:54 PM, Apr 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 09:55:13-04

PARK CITY - As the temperatures heat up, the snowpack melts away, adding to reservoir levels. While that's great news for the immediate future, it spells a bad forecast for the water supply in upcoming months.

The recent heat has melted the majority of the snow at the middle-to-lower elevation levels.

"Those levels contribute to the runoff that supplies reservoirs," said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

"The idea is to have a nice snow pack until late April," he continued.

However, that doesn't look like a probable scenario. The levels have melted so far already that the majority of ski resorts in Utah have closed their runs.

"You can lose half of your water because of evaporation because of dry soils," McInerney said. "It just goes away."

He said that plants and trees also soak up the water, meaning that a good majority of the water doesn't end up in rivers and streams.

As a result, McInerney estimates that snowpack levels are about 60 to 70 percent of the yearly average. He said that won't mean much to Utah residents, but it will impact farmers.