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Water Outlook Appears Good for the Year

Water Outlook Appears Good for the Year

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Jed Boal ReportingAlthough today's storm snarled traffic and made holiday travel treacherous at times, it's exactly what we need. For several years now hydrologists have had to deliver a lot of negative news about our water reserves. Finally there's some optimism, even if it is cautious optimism.

Snow blankets the Wasatch Front as though it's already mid-winter. After a dry, disappointing October a series of storms moved through. Snow pack in the north? Normal to above normal. In southern Utah, below normal to near normal, but one storms could change those figures quickly.

Brian McInerney, the state hydrologist at the National Weather Service, says this November is much different than last.

Brian McInerney, National Weather Service Hydrologist: “We've got consistent storm activity. We don't see any high pressure ridge building. When you see high pressure out here it deflects any storm activity like a bubble."

That high pressure kills us. Last December it kept temperatures five-and-a-half degrees above normal and nine degrees above normal in January. Storms never developed; temperatures rose with blue skies until the inversion set in and fouled the air.

Brian McInerney, National Weather Service Hydrologist: “This year we've got a storm system moving through every three to five days. And no sign of that high pressure ridge setting in, at least right now."

So the situation looks promising as long as the pattern continues to deliver. December and January will be the critical months.

Brian McInerney, National Weather Service Hydrologist: “We're doing really well. We have good snow pack; we have adequate soil moisture; we don't see a big ridge building in. So let's keep our fingers crossed and I think we'll be ok."

The hydrologist says average snow pack and good run-off could fill the small reservoirs next year. It will take several years to turn it around for the larger reservoirs like Strawberry and Bear Lake.

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