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Drought conditions impacting 99% of Utah

Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 20:37:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY— Utah is dealing with triple digit temperatures and a drought that is affecting 99 percent of the state. The question is, when will things get better?

"Unfortunately, we don’t see an end in sight to the hot temperatures we see right now, and it looks like the patterns not going to change for the next two weeks," said Christine Kruse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “We’re looking at temperatures well above even what we normally see in Utah."

For most of the state, precipitation comes in the form of snow. According to Jordan Clayton, supervisor of the Utah Snow Survey, we get about 95 percent of our water from snowmelt every year. Clayton said we had a good start to the year in terms of snow, but things began to change around March.

"Towards the end of March, things started to tank," Clayton said. "We’ve been below average ever since then.”

Parts of southern and southeastern Utah have entered into what experts call D3, or extreme levels of drought.

“We’ve gone from around 10 percent or so what would be considered D3 to around 25 percent, which is a pretty big uptick," Clayton said.

There are things Utahns can do to help stave off the dry conditions.

“Making sure you aren’t running your sprinklers too much — running them in the evening, not using more than what you have to," Kruse added.

Anyone planning on spending time outdoors this weekend or next week needs to prepare for the heat.

“People need to take this heat seriously, even if they’re used to it being a desert," Kruse said. "You want to check on people that don’t have air conditioning or don’t have swamp coolers. You want to make sure they’re not overheating."

For residents living in the Salt Lake Valley, the county has extended access to their cooling centers located at the Salt Palace Convention Center and the Mountain America Expo Center. They are open this Sunday through next Friday.