Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Snow-capped Oquirrh Mountains above Settlement Canyon Resevoir on Monday.

May 14, 2019
Snow pack still loaded with water

New report shows mountain runoff will be ‘pretty good’ through July 

As the snow season comes to an end, there is still plenty of snow in the mountains above Tooele Valley.

The snow water equivalent at the Rocky Basin – Settlement Canyon SNOTEL site was at 200% of normal as of Monday, according to data collected by National Resources Conservation Service’s SNOTEL sites. Snow water equivalent is the amount of water in the snow pack.

Statewide, warmer temperatures have started bringing water off the mountains and into rivers and reservoirs.

“Utah’s snowpack is coming off and we’re already seeing the impact in our streams and reservoirs,” reads NRCS’s April Utah Climate and Water Report. “Most of the current observed streamflow levels range from 100 to over 250%, and we still have a significant amount of high elevation snowpack left to melt out. Soil moisture across the state is high at 81%, which will improve runoff efficiency as the snowmelt progresses.”

The report predicts “pretty good” stream flow through the month May and into July with Vernon Creek expected to run at 150% of normal and South Willow Creek forecast to run at 135% of normal.

Grantsville Reservoir was at 94% of capacity as of May 1, compared to 85 percent as of May 1, 2018. Settlement Canyon Reservoir was at 60% of capacity as of May 1, compared to 80 percent as of May 1, 2018, according to the NRCS report.

The April report lists the snow water equivalent in Tooele Valley and West Deseret Basins at an average of 167% as of May 1, 2019, compared to 20% percent one year ago.

Locally, Ned Bevan, the Tooele City weather observer for the National Weather Service, reports April was a wetter than average month but snowfall for April fell behind the month’s normal.

Total precipitation at Bevan’s observation site in Tooele City was 3.71 inches for the month of April compared to a normal of 2.49 inches for April.

Snowfall in Tooele City for the month of April was 3.8 inches compared to a normal of 8.8 inches, as recorded by Bevan.

Temperature-wise Tooele City was close to average in 2019 with an average high of 61.3 degrees with an average high Tooele temperature in April of 62 degrees.

The highest temperature in Tooele during the month of April was 76 degrees on April 20. The lowest high temperature was 41 degrees on April 10. April 10 also holds the record for the lowest recorded temperature during the month of April at 30 degrees, according to Bevan’s report.

SNOTEL, or snow telemetry, are remote battery powered sites across western mountains that automatically measure and transmit information about snow depth, water content, rainfall, and air temperature. They are managed by the USDA’s National Resources and Conservation Service.

The NRCS has discontinued the monthly Climate and Water Reports until further notice due to ongoing hiring limitations at the NRCS and critical staffing shortages in the Utah Snow Survey program, according to an announcement in the April report.

 

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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