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April storms add much-needed snowpack to Utah's mountains

By Amanda Butterfield | Posted - May 3, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The weekend storms have helped our snowpack for the year, but it was the storms from late March to early April that helped even more. They put Utah in a good position going into the summer.

Water Year Snowfall (since Oct. 1)

Actual36.2"
Normal62.0"
Departure-25.8"
Last year48.3"
National Weather Service

The only person who watches Utah's storms closer than KSL 5's weather team is perhaps Brian McInerney, with the National Weather Service. He smiled when snow and rain moved in last week and stayed through the weekend.

"If we didn't have the storms we had, we'd have 35 percent less snow in the snowpack," McInerney says.

The storms we had from March 26 to April 4 helped tremendously, as did last week's storm.

"The problem is we started so low, compared to the percent we should be," McInerney says. "The total, we're about 89 to 88 percent of normal, and that's not where we should be. It's a great improvement, though, and it helps a lot."

Water Year Precipitation (Since Oct. 1)

Actual8.23"
Normal10.97"
Departure-2.74"
Last year12.08"
National Weather Service

Last year's wet weather is going to help us this year too.

"The saving grace though this year is we have very good reservoir supplies. We have carryover from last year," McInerney says.

He does not anticipate any major flooding this year either.

"Northern Utah is going to have a runoff that is low, but they have good reservoir storage. Southern Utah has really good snowpack and will have good runoff this year," he says.

If McInerney controlled the weather, we would have snow for two more weeks, then a week of rain, all with cold temperatures. But even if we don't get that, he says we're really OK.

McInerney warns even though flooding should not be a problem, there will still be fast, dangerous runoff. If you fall in moving runoff water, you have two minutes to get out and warm up before hypothermia sets in.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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