NewsUtah Drought


Campers make the most of gloomy Memorial Day weekend weather

But drought-stricken Utah welcomes the rain
Posted at 9:59 PM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 00:56:33-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — What would’ve been a Memorial Day weekend full of sunshine and adventure turned gray and chilly as campers tried to stay dry and avoid the rain.

“We have a fire, got my blanket, some leggings on,” said Teresa Eichler.

Eichler and her friends are camping at Jordanelle State Park. The low temperatures and on-and-off precipitation definitely threw a wrench in their plans.

“We were going to go fishing and paddleboarding and everything,” said Eichler. “But then we saw that the weather is terrible so we were like, ‘Hey, scrapping the paddleboards, not going swimming, not doing any of that.’”

The self-proclaimed “heartbreak homies” told FOX 13 News that all four of them got dumped in the last two weeks. Eichler said the gloomy clouds actually fit their current mood. Still, they’re trying to have fun regardless.

“I don’t mind the rain. I’m actually a fan,” she said. “It’s just a little bit tricky when you’re trying to camp.”

Laura Haskell, a drought coordinator with the Utah Division of Water Resources, said any kind of precipitation is welcome. She said the state is still recovering from last year’s drought.

“Since we depleted and used so much of our reservoirs last year, there are areas struggling a little bit more because of how much water we needed to use last year because we didn’t have any,” she said.

She said statewide water storage sits at 63 percent capacity — that’s lower than where it was last year.

Haskell also said it’s the snowpack that makes the most impact on the reservoirs, not so much the rain.

“Just because of how and where it falls, it doesn’t always make it in the reservoirs,” she explained.

The graph above shows the amount of precipitation across Utah. Although some areas saw rain, it wasn’t widespread enough to significantly affect statewide totals.

“They say it typically takes about as many years to get out of drought as it took you to get into drought,” said Haskell. “Actually, eight of the last 10 years we’ve been in drought, so there is a lot of recovery there that we need to make.”

Haskell said one way to help is to pay attention to how you use water at home. She said around 60 percent of residential water use is used outside.

You can visit Water Conservation Utah’s website for a weekly lawn watering guide and other tips to conserve water.