see update at bottom of story
The astronomical start of spring is on the vernal equinox, which was March 20 for 2023.
That’s the day the sun crossed the celestial equator or the day when the north and south hemisphere received the same amount of sunlight, because neither half of the earth was tilted more towards the sun.
After the vernal equinox, the northern hemisphere starts to get closer to the sun, the days get longer, things warm up and things spring back to life.
But 2023 weather patterns don’t appear to pay attention to astronomy.
Snow keeps piling up in the mountains in Utah, breaking records and winter-like storms play havoc with commuting while dropping short lasting snowflakes.
As of March 28, the amount of snow water equivalent in the mountains above the Tooele Valley and Vernon Creek basin was 33.2 inches. That’s 208% of the 30-year median peak value of 15.9 inches. The 30-year high was 30.1 inches, set in 1998.
The spring thaw normally starts around April 5, the day of the median peak.
Tooele Valley’s reservoirs appear ready to catch some of the spring runoff.
The Settlement Canyon Reservoir was at 37.6% of capacity on March 28, compared to the normal median level of 66% for the same time of the year over the last 30 years.
The Grantsville Reservoir was at 44.0% of capacity on March 28, compared to the normal median level of 57.8% for the same time of the year over the last 30 years.
For Great Salt Lake watchers, the lake level as of March 28 was 4,191.2 feet at the USGS monitor at the Salt Air Boat harbor. That’s 2.6 feet above the lowest daily level of 4,188.6 feet set on October 27, 2022.
The Great Salt Lake Strike Force, a group of state government officials and university staff, set an optimal target level of between 4,198 and 4,205 for the lake. That means we only have 6.8 feet to go to reach the minimum optimal level for the lake.
The seven-day National Weather Service forecast for Tooele and Rush valleys predicts rain and snow with possible accumulation of snow on Wednesday night after midnight.
More snow and rain are likely on Thursday morning with snow and rain turning to rain after midnight on Thursday evening. Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers on Friday. More snow and rain showers are predicted from late Saturday night through Monday.
March 30, 2023 5:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service posted a Winter Weather Advisory for Tooele and Rush Valleys, the Northern Wasatch Front and the Salt Lake Valley at 3:13 p.m. on Thursday, March 30.
The advisory is in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday, March 30 through noon on Friday, March 31.
The advisory cautions that there may be an accumulation of 1 to 3 inches of snow on valley floors and 4 to 10 inches on benches. Winds may reach 35 mph.
The NWS said drivers in the advisory area should plan on slippery roads. Hazardous road conditions will impact the Friday morning commute, according to the NWS.
Snow will be widespread Thursday evening and continue until Friday morning, becoming showery in the afternoon. Snow, especially on the eastern benches, will be heavy at times.