The most recent check of 125 remote measuring stations in Utah's mountains shows the statewide winter snowpack is 102 percent of average to date.

"The picture is much brighter than it was last year," said Jon Werner, data collection supervisor for the Soil Conservation Service in Salt Lake. "But," he added, "the lower-than-average snowpack during the past several years translates to a need for additional moisture to make up the deficit."Werner said a forecast of stream-flow levels expected in the spring should be issued later this week.

Werner said data collection crews travel by helicopters, snowmobiles, cross country skis and snowshoes to the remote sites once a month to evaluate the snowpack and compile data that is used to forecast water conditions for the following spring. An additional 80 test sites send data automatically to Salt Lake once each week.

The information is a vital tool to water officials as they try to predict the amount of water that will be available in streams and reservoirs during the coming warm weather season.

"Last year central and southern Utah were well off and northern Utah was suffering from a lack of snow," Werner said.

The high total snowpack along the Wasatch Front this year is due in part to cloud seeding.

Monthly snowpack reports, compiled by the Soil Conservation Service and the National Weather Service, continue each winter through April 1, when the snowpack traditionally peaks.