Latest snowfall has small impact on snow-pack

Mar 4, 2018, 6:34 PM | Updated: Mar 6, 2018, 3:00 pm


PARK CITY — While the latest snowstorm brightens skiers’ moods, it has not made a big impact on the state’s snow-pack.

Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with National Weather Service, said the snow-pack in the Salt Lake area is 57 to 58 percent of average. To get back to average, McInerney said it would take about six and a half feet of snow. Further south, the Saint George area is about 44 percent of normal. 

“It’s a small drop in a bucket, but it’s a nice thing to see and it’s nice that we’ve had storm activity,” McInerney said.

Although the snow-pack is not what Utahns would typically expect this time of year, McInerney said lack of water is not a concern. Last year’s heavy snowfall left Utah with plenty of extra water. McInerney said reservoirs in the area are about 80 percent full.

“If you’re going to have a bad year, like we’re seeing right now, even though the pattern is quite active and we could still make up a lot of ground, this is the year to have it,” he said.

Part of the problem, McInerney said, was high pressure systems that typically stick around for four to six weeks have stayed much longer this year.

“This one lasted 12 weeks, 12 to 14 weeks, and that was a really extended period. Unfortunately, we’re going to see more of that in future years all the way out to 2100 as we continue to warm,” he said.

McInerney said extreme swings between years are something Utahns should get used to.

“What we’re finding are the storms are less frequent, but they’re more intense when they get here and that’s only going to continue into the years as we progress,” McInerney said. “What we’ve seen is nothing but extreme weather, and we anticipate more of that as we go.”


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Latest snowfall has small impact on snow-pack