Snowpack and Water Outlook are Grim

This winter may turn out to be the warmest on record, and that’s bad news for our snowpack and water outlook.

Water supply managers met at the Salt Lake City headquarters of the National Weather Service in mid-February, and they used words like “unprecedented” to describe the warm weather and its negative effects on Utah’s projected water supply in the coming months.

Although snowfall this winter has not been bad, the above-average temperatures – an average of 9 degrees higher than normal since December 1 – are wreaking havoc with the snowpack. By mid-February, water managers said that the snowmelt conditions are already six weeks ahead of schedule. While some of that water is filling reservoirs, much of it is soaking into the ground before it reaches the reservoirs because of the drawn-out nature of the melting. Forecasts call for above-average temperatures to persist for the next three months.