Utah's water year off to a slow start, but no need to panic yet

Friday , November 03, 2017 - 3:49 PM2 comments

LEIA LARSEN, Standard-Examiner Staff

Utah kicked off its 2018 water year dry as a bone.

The U.S. Geological Survey tracks the annual surface water cycle starting Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30. Utah’s October mountain precipitation was about 20 percent of average, according to the latest Utah Climate and Water Report by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Averages are based on 30 years of water data.

“October was really dry, like reading a dictionary,” said Randy Julander, with the NRCS Utah Snow Survey, in an email. 

But it’s not time to panic. Reservoir storage in the region still looks good after last winter’s phenomenal snowfall — statewide, it’s at 70 percent of capacity compared to 46 percent at this time last year. The NRCS report notes, too, that last winter got off to a slow start, but when the snow came, it “came with great intensity.”

The Weber-Ogden River Basin saw 19 percent of its average precipitation last month. Soil moisture is at 54 percent compared to 64 percent last year. The Bear River Basin saw 27 percent its average precipitation and soil moisture is at 63 percent compared to 77 percent last year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts Utah will see a winter that’s warmer than normal. Precipitation could be above normal in Northern Utah, according to NOAA. 

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

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