The new water year may have started off abnormally warm and dry, but a cold, wet winter may be on the horizon, according to weather data.
Tooele received 0.63 inches of precipitation last month and no snow. Normally in October, it receives 1.81 inches of total precipitation, including 3.8 inches of snow, said Ned Bevan, cooperative weather observer for the National Weather Service.
Last month, temperatures in Tooele City ranged from an average of 45.3 degrees Fahrenheit to an average 68.1 degrees, Bevan added.
Normally in October, the city ranges from 41.3 to 64.7 degrees, according to data from the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake office.
Water years begin on Oct. 1 and end on Sept. 31 of the following year.
The county’s drought status has not changed since September, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The majority of Tooele County is still classified as D0 “abnormally dry” conditions while the eastern portion of the county is in D1, or “moderate drought.”
In addition, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, the weather over the next three months may include above-average temperatures. At the same time, Utah has an equal chance for below-average, average or above-average precipitation.
But despite the forecast for warmer temperatures through January, there is approximately a 70-percent chance La Niña conditions will develop in the northern hemisphere as the year progresses. La Niña also has a 55-percent chance of remaining throughout the rest of winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The term La Niña refers to the surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean. During La Niña, below-average surface temperatures in the ocean can cause the western and northern United States to be cooler and wetter than normal, according to NOAA.
Tooele needs as much precipitation as it can get this year, said Gary Bevan, president of Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company.
“We need some storms bad,” he said. “It’s only 41 percent of normal [mountain snowfall] in Rocky Basin. That’s pretty sick. … It’s not looking good now.”
However, a pipeline the company built in 2014 is doing its job. The two-mile pipeline connects Sawmill Flat to Settlement Canyon Reservoir, an area where water was previously lost to ground soak.
“It’s taking the water and putting it in the reservoir,” Bevan said. “What water there is we’re catching.”