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Storm Boosts Snow Pack Levels

Storm Boosts Snow Pack Levels

Posted - Feb. 26, 2004 at 4:52 p.m.



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John Hollenhorst ReportingThe storm that hit California hard yesterday swept across Utah last night and today. It brought rain and snow, a tremendous amount of it in some places, and there are some storm-related problems.

This is one of those fluffy on top, wet on the bottom kind of storms. In the valleys it's been raining, pouring rain in some places. It was virtual downpour much of the day on Ogden and Logan. The mountains received some very welcome snow.

The snow was flying at higher elevations. In Northern Utah there was enough to cause the usual problems, such as cars sliding off the road. At lower elevations, rain and melting snow prompted city and county workers to fan out and unplug storm drains. Last fall's leaves are the big culprit.

Rick Bright, SLC Stormwater Manager: "The water could go out into the intersections and cause some safety hazards. So we just try to make sure that's taken care of."

But the storm was a blockbuster in Southwestern Utah, a "phenomenal" storm according to Utah's drought watchers.

Look at the snow pack improvement just from the early part of the storm. The Virgin River drainage jumped from 81% of normal on February 1st up to 93% this morning. The Escalante drainage leaped from a pathetic 65% all the way to 98% of normal.

By the end of the weekend, it's expected the whole state's snow pack will be just about back to 100% of normal.

There was some isolated small-scale flooding. In Draper runoff from a golf course poured into a neighborhood and flooded at least one basement.

In a Spanish Fork neighborhood the problem isn't so much the storm; it's the season and bad drainage. Homeowners have been battling the city and developers over the issue for years. Over the last week or two, melting snow raised the water table.

Tammy Fenn, Spanish Fork: "About an hour ago we filled the 16 gallon vacuum eight times. And five gallon vaccuum four times. And you can see there's about an inch in there already again."

It will take a couple more storms like this over the next month to keep the state at normal snow pack level. Drought watchers are hoping for three or four big storms in March. That would boost snow pack to about 120 percent, the target-zone for drought recovery.

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