Latest survey measures lots of deep, dense snow in Utah river basins

Saturday , March 04, 2017 - 5:15 AM

LEIA LARSEN, Standard-Examiner Staff

Utah’s mountains continue to be packed with above-average snow levels.

The latest Utah Water Supply Outlook Report by the Natural Resource Conservation Service notes higher than normal snowpack in all of the state’s water basins. Snow levels sit near levels measured in 2011, 2005 and 1997 — “all exceptionally large years,” wrote Randy Julander, the NRCS Utah Snow Survey supervisor.

The report also notes that because of both warm temperatures and warm storms, the snowpack is more dense than usual and has potential for early runoff.

Statewide, February’s precipitation was 156 percent of average, which brings the total seasonal accumulation to 147 percent of average. Reservoir storage sits at 58 percent of capacity. At this time last year, reservoirs were at 54 percent of capacity. 

As of March 1, the Utah Snow Survey measured a snow water equivalent at 172 percent of normal in the Bear River Basin and 162 percent in the Weber River Basin.

Creeks and streams within the Bear River Basin are forecast to flow at 170 percent to 283 percent of average this spring. In the Weber Basin, spring streamflow forecasts range from 162 percent of average at the Smith and Morehouse Reservoir inflow to 237 percent of average in both the Chalk Creek at Coalville and Centerville Creek. The Pineview Reservoir inflow is forecasted to flow at 212 percent of average.

Peak flows will likely run later than usual.

“Given the depth of snow in the higher elevations, snowmelt could last well into June and July,” the report says. “This is an opportunity for water managers to not only fill the reservoir(s), but remain full well into the summer months.”

One month remains in the normal snow season. Read the entire Water Supply Outlook Report online. 

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/leiaoutside or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen.

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