Zero inches of total precipitation for Tooele City in June brings the amount of precipitation to 9.73 inches for the 2017-18 water year that began on Oct. 1.
During the same nine-month period last year, Tooele’s total precipitation measured 17.62 inches. Normal total precipitation by June 30 is 15.21 in the city. The current water year in the city is almost 5.5 inches below normal.
“The situation is getting serious with a high possibility for fires and crop failures,” said Ned Bevan, local weather observer for the National Weather Service. “It’s not looking real good and we didn’t have any snowpack. I sure would like to see a change in the weather.”
He said May 31 was the last time any measurable precipitation (.11 of an inch) was recorded in the city.
June is normally the driest month of the year for Tooele with normal precipitation at 1.11 inch. Precipitation for May in Tooele measured 1.54 inches, compared to a normal precipitation of 1.91 inches for the month.
Steve Hannah, NWS meteorologist, said records show Tooele has experienced zero precipitation or only a trace during a month about every five or six years.
“Hopefully, we’ll get rain during the monsoon season,” Hannah said. The North American Monsoon typically runs from July through mid-September, according to the NWS.
“Those storms generally come from the south and sometimes don’t make it this far north,” Bevan said. “Let’s pray that they do.”
Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company began water restrictions on June 25, according to Bob Clegg, company president.
“The water level at the reservoir is going down really fast,” he said. “We can’t go on the way we are going or we will be out of water by mid-August.”
Grantsville Irrigation Company has dropped its irrigation limit for residential users from 250,000 gallons last year to 150,000 gallons this year.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning on Thursday for a section of southern Tooele County that would remain in effect until midnight. South winds were expected to gust to around 30 mph.
The NWS announcement explained that a red flag warning indicates critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or are imminent. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
The temperature hit a high of 95 degrees on June 4 with an average high temperature of 86.6 degrees for the month, according to data from Bevan. The warmest minimum temperature was 72 on June 14 and June 28.
The coldest maximum temperature was 72 degrees on June 4 with the coldest minimum temperature of 47 on June 2 and June 11.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows severe drought (D2) for eastern Tooele Valley, and moderate drought (D1) for the rest of the county. The monitor shows the highest drought level possible (D4) for Sanpete and San Juan counties classified listed as exceptional drought. Portions of Uintah, Duchesne, Emery, Wayne, Garfield and Kane counties are at D3 or extreme drought.