Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 11, 2020
Snowpack numbers are up while total water year moisture is down

Snowfall in Tooele Valley was below average in January, but the amount of water stored in the mountains above the valley continues to exceed normal for this time of year.

Total snowfall in Tooele City for January was 5.2 inches, according to Ned Bevan, Tooele City weather observer for the National Weather Service.

Normal snowfall for the month in Tooele City is 12.7 inches, according to Bevan.

The cumulative snowfall for the water year in Tooele City at the end of Janaury was 36.5 inches compared to a normal of 36.8 inches.

A snowstorm on Feb. 3 dropped 7.6 inches of snow on the city, but in 2019 a snowstorm on Feb. 6 brought 14.3 inches of snow to the city, according to the National Weather Service.

Moisture in the snowpack above Tooele Valley, as measured by snow water equivalent, remains above normal, according to the National Resources Conservation Service Utah Snow Survey.

The Tooele Valley-Vernon Creek Basin’s snow water equivalent, or the amount of water in the snowpack, was at 134% of the historic median value at the end of January.

The Rocky Basin Settlement Canyon SNOTEL site reported 15.5 inches of snow water equivalent for 138% of the median. The Mining Fork SNOTEL site reported 15.3 inches of snow water equivalent for 155% of the median, and the Vernon Creek SNOTEL site reported 5.4 inches of snow water equivalent for 92% of the median.

While snowfall is up, overall precipitation at the SNOTEL sites was below median at the end of 2019 and it remained below normal at the end of January.

Total precipitation for the water year, which began Oct. 1, 2019, in the Tooele Valley-Vernon Creek Basin was 91% of normal as of Jan. 31.

The lower precipitation means that the ground is drier than normal. Dry soils mean an above-average snowpack is needed to produce average runoff conditions, according to the NRCS.

Last month was a little warmer than normal in Tooele City, according to Bevan, with the average high temperature hitting 41.7 degrees. The NWS reports the average temperature in Tooele to be 38.0 degrees in January.

The warmest day last month in Tooele City was 54 degrees on Jan. 16. The coldest day was 34 degrees on Jan. 10. Total precipitation for the water year in Tooele City on Jan. 31 was 4.5 inches compared to a normal of 6.05 inches, according to Bevan.

“If we get average snowfall from now on, we’ll end up at roughly the 70th percentile for snowpack,” reads the summary of the Feb. 1 NRCS Utah State Water Supply Outlook report. “That’s good news because soil moisture values at our SNOTEL sites are below average, and the dry soils and low antecedent streamflow — because of the unusually dry summer — require us to have an above-average snowpack this winter to produce fairly average runoff conditions. So let’s hope that snow keeps falling!”


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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