SALT LAKE CITY — Old Man Winter has been busy of late, bringing much-needed relief to Utah’s dangerously low snowpacks.
But don’t let the piles of fresh snow fool you. After near-record low precipitation over the past year, Utah water supplies remain in serious trouble even with the recent return of long-absent wet weather.
“We are definitely seeing significant improvement from this storm,” Jordan Clayton, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Wednesday. However, “it’s not the end-all, be-all for our drought and snowpack situation. In all likelihood, we are still going to have below-average snowpack by the time we get to April 1. We are still anticipating a well-below-average runoff.”
Snowpacks in the Wasatch, Uinta, Bear River and other ranges store frozen water that reservoirs capture in the spring for use by Utah residents and farmers through summer. The moisture held in the mountains remains so shallow in places that some water watchers fear low runoff could result in streams running dry and farms going dry.
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