‘Crappy would be generous right now’ experts say of Utah’s snowpack levels

Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 19:33:49-05

By Brian Champagne, Fox 13 News

SALT LAKE CITY – “It’s horrible.”

Those two words from Michael Conger of the National Weather Service describe Utah’s current snowpack and by extension the outlook for next summer’s water supply.

“You just get these very weak storms come through, put a few inches down in the mountains, very little in the valleys,” he said of this season’s snowfall.

Troy Broston, a hydrologist, had a similar take on the snowpack outlook to date.

“Crappy would be generous right now; it's a bad, bad snowpack year right now,” Broston said.

Surveyors verified that crappiness last week, and the most recent new storm helped very little.

“If we had a storm every week that put down a foot of snow, that would be fantastic,” Broston said.

But he’s not holding his breath that the worst snowpack in 30 years will change in the near future. Far northern Utah is close to normal, while the Salt Lake and Provo areas are at about half. Farther south, snowpack levels trickle on down to six percent of normal for the Beaver River Basin.

We know we're going to have to get used to brown hills in winter. But what about brown hills in spring?

“We’re not looking for any real big flip back to a wet pattern until maybe late winter or early spring,” Conger said.

Broston said the chances of reaching normal conditions are slim.

“We stand a 20% chance of reaching normal conditions by April 1,” he said.

So for now, reservoir managers are holding onto last year’s water.