Mar 27, 2023 - News

Utah breaks 40-year snow record

The black line shows this year's snowpack — the highest since the measurement system was created in 1981. Chart via USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Utah is having its snowiest winter, with the weekend's storms demolishing a record that has stood since 1983.

Driving the news: The "snow-water equivalent" — the depth of the water from melted snowfall in the mountains — surpassed the record of 26 inches on Friday and reached 26.5 inches by Sunday.

  • It's possible that 1952's 28.8 inches exceeded that — but measurements were taken differently then, federal water regulators said. No other year since then has surpassed this winter's total so far.

Why it matters: Utah is in a prolonged drought and gets 95% of its water from melted snowpack, according to the state Division of Water Resources.

  • The melted snow flows into reservoirs, where it is saved for dry years.
  • A pattern of dry years and population growth have left reservoirs — and the Great Salt Lake — well below their normal depths, per state reservoir data.

What we're watching: The snowpack could still get deeper, with the median peak on April 3.

By the numbers: The Great Salt Lake has risen about 2 feet since December — and a lot of snow remains unmelted.

Yes, but: After multiple dry winters and growing water use, the lake depth is still about 6 feet below the median for late March in the past 30 years, per USGS data.

Meanwhile on the slopes, Alta announced it broke its four-decade-old record for annual snowfall, reaching 749 inches Friday.

  • Solitude and Snowbird plan to stay open until at least May, Ski Utah reports.

👙Erin's thought bubble: Time to go bikini shopping for a 4th of July ski day!


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