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Jed Boal ReportingJust to be cautious, water watchers in Utah are not proclaiming an end to the drought yet, but it appears likely. Snowpack across the state is above normal; in some areas it's piling up records. It might even prove to be too much of a good thing.
In a few months Utah creeks will flow with mountain run-off and we'll all know how much water will fill our reservoirs and run through our back yards. From "just enough" to "flooding", we'll probably see a range.
For the first time in seven years...snow storms delivered.
Randy Julander, Utah Snow Survery: "Designer storms all winter long so far."
Snow in the mountains and little to shovel. In the north we’re seeing 120-130 percent of average snowpack.
Randy Julander: “We like where we’re at. Very little potential for very high flows, but decent potential for good run-off this spring.”
Right now there is no real flood threat, but on the south slope of the Uintas the snow is already deeper than it usually gets all winter.
Brian McInerney, Hydrologist, National Weather Service: “We have two more months to go with snow collection. We could add a lot more to the snowpack, or shut it down and not add anything at all.”
While the snowpack in northern Utah is impressive, in southern Utah it's phenomenal. The water coming out of the mountains is likely to not only break records, that stream flow will smash records.
Randy Julander: "There are some areas down there where we need to watch very carefully."
Scenes like those three weeks ago heightened alert for the coming spring. Officials will watch the flood potential and help communities prepare.
Randy Julander: "There's gonna be a lot of water down there. Soils are virtually saturated, and snowpacks are unbelievably high."
The Lower Enterprise River is still surging after the flooding.
Brian McInerney, National Weather Service Hydrologist: "We could have some problems. In the virgin river basin two-and-a-half times the snowpack you would normally have."
Crews will work to shore up river banks and prepare channels for high flows.
Randy Julander: "I'm tickled to death we're finally getting some decent snowpacks in southern Utah. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be too much of a good thing."
The Natural Resources Conservation Service today released $6-million to start repairs on the watershed in Washington County. The next two months will determine whether we see flooding this spring.