The new 2018-19 Water Year that began on Oct. 1 may be showing signs that Mother Nature wants to make amends for the previous water year that lagged in moisture.
According to Ned Bevan, Tooele weather observer for the National Weather Service, his reporting station in Tooele City has received 1.42 inches of rain since Oct. 1. Normal precipitation for October is 1.81 inches. It’s possible normal precipitation may be reached or even passed with more than three weeks left to go in the month.
“We’re starting out pretty good,” Bevan said.
When compared to how dry the 2017-18 Water Year began a year ago, the new water year’s wet start is a change.
“Last October we only received three hundredths of an inch for the entire month,” Bevan said.
That was the start of a water year that struggled to reach normal precipitation levels — and never recovered. The 2017-18 Water Year, which ended on Sept. 30, measured only 10.49 inches of total precipitation in Tooele City. Normal precipitation for the 12-month period in the city is 18.49 inches, according to Bevan.
More than half of that 8-inch deficit was caused by a summer during which little to no rain fell. From June through September, only .76 of an inch of rain was measured by Bevan. Normal precipitation during that four-month period is 4.39 inches.
Bevan noted that zero precipitation was received during June and September, and except for the drought years of the 1930s, last summer could be the driest — or one of the driest — on record.
Another consecutive water year with below normal moisture marks has resulted in deepening drought across Tooele County. The latest National Weather Service U.S. Drought Monitor map shows Tooele County under a Severe Drought (D2) status. D0 means abnormally dry, D1 moderate drought, D3 extreme drought and D4 exceptional drought.
The past week of storms that have drenched parched soil profiles doesn’t come entirely as a surprise. According to the 90-day forecast by the National Weather Service, there is a 40-50 percent chance of Tooele County experiencing above normal temperatures, with an equal chance of above, normal or below normal precipitation during the period.
And according to the National Weather Service, more precipitation is in the forecast for Tooele Valley through Friday. Rain and snow are predicted tonight with a low around 38 degrees. More is expected Wednesday and Thursday, with lows in the 30s and highs in the 40s. Little to no snow accumulation is expected on the valley floor.