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Historic drought and insufficient snowpack signal possible water trouble ahead

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 19:49:33-05

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to drought, the word exceptional is as bad as it can get. It's a threshold Utah doesn't see in a normal year.

In 2002, about 32 percent of the state was in exceptional drought, now 57 percent of Utah is experiencing the exceptional drought.

Current snowpack, although improved by heavy snowfall in early February, isn't enough to pull the state out of these conditions.

Read: Utah ski season expected to be busy despite pandemic, drought

In an average year, spring runoff finishes up in early June. A combination of less snow and a warm spring season, spring runoff has been concluding earlier. In 2020, it was finished by mid-May.

The last time Utah experienced exceptional drought was in 2018, although less than 10 percent of the state was classified under the conditions.

Click here to view the U.S. drought monitor map comparison slider.