August poured on the rain in southern Utah, petered out in northern Utah
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — August's precipitation was like a teeter-totter and depending on where you were in Utah, the ride left you either up high or on the low end in the dry soil.
In southern Utah, residents got the bird's eye view. The region received 164 percent of its normal precipitation.
August let the farther northern Utah vegetation and soil down, however, with the Weber basin receiving dramatically less than its counterpart to the south — just 46 percent of normal.
Randy Julander, a hydrologist and supervisor with the snow survey, described it this way: "from talcum powder dry to mud bog wet."
The latest water and climate report released Friday by the Utah Snow Survey of the U.S. Natural Resources Service describes August delivering "impressive precipitation." Areas received anywhere from 2 to 6 inches, quenching thirsty soils that will likely fare better for runoff next year.
While southern Utah may be able to rejoice somewhat with its ample August precipitation, the entire state is still in the chokehold of a drought, finishing up its second year of hot, dry summers coming off measly mountain snowpack.
Julander's report notes that reservoir storage statewide is at 52 percent of capacity as of August's end, down 7 percent from July and 12 percent from 2012. Throughout Utah, 19 reservoirs are below 25 percent of storage capacity.
Many reservoirs such as Echo and Willard Bay have put out the closed sign on the boat ramps and the gates at Gunnison Reservoir in central Utah are locked.
Some areas are still hanging on, however, such as the Jordan-Provo basin which saw 113 percent of normal precipitation and has reservoirs at 68 percent of capacity this year, compared to 76 percent of capacity last year.
The report notes that reservoirs, generally, will have less than half of their normal storage when the water year ends Oct. 1.
While national climate predictions put Utah as being drier and warmer than normal over the next month or so, Utah's water managers, city officials and others are hoping this winter breaks the disastrous drought cycle.
In North Salt Lake, where there was fear of running out of secondary water by the first of September, City Manager Barry Edwards said this winter just simply has to show up on the snowpack stage.
"If we don't get snow, I guess we all will be eating dust."
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