June 14, 2024

Utah snowpack

Are we in danger of a similar flood? I can’t say for sure, but it seems likely.

I have never regretted singing “Let It Snow” so much in my life. This year, the snowfall in Utah has been nothing short of insanity. It is now April and schools in Salt Lake County have canceled classes as recently as the third of this month. 

Now, snow in Utah isn’t uncommon. To tourists and new residents, the thing Utah may be most recognizable for is the powder snow that makes skiing in the state so enthralling. I love the snow in the appropriate months, but we have surpassed them at this point. April is supposed to bring the flowers, the sprout of new life, new energy to carry us into the summer season. Where is that? 

To help emphasize my point, Utah set a new all-time snowfall record on Monday, April 3. According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah has hit 201% over the statewide average for this time of year. The last time the state saw this much snow was in 1983, the same year Salt Lake County experienced a massive flood, famously turning State Street into an aqueduct to avoid severe damage to the rest of the valley. 

Are we in danger of a similar flood? I can’t say for sure, but it seems likely. Winters have been off in recent years, with years like 2021 and 2018 being much drier than normal. So, why are we seeing such intense snow in 2023? Some of it seems to be excellent timing. We have seen a few tropical storms this year that have been missing in recent times. Maybe this is a natural course correction. Utah has been dealing with severe drought for a few years, lowering water levels statewide to a worrying degree. These storms are going to help, but that doesn’t make them less annoying to deal with. 

Snow can be fun. I love to spend time with family, especially my youngest brother, and do things in the snow like build snowmen and have snowball battles in the yard, but that feels more like an accompaniment to the end of the year. It ties it all together in such a neat little bow. The lights, the hot cocoa, the music and the snow. The end of the year feels like a perfectly put together package of joy.

That joy no longer exists this late into the game.

I don’t feel any joy when I look out the window and see a blanket of snow. I see a hassle. It becomes even more obnoxious when you have to deal with the constantly-changing nature of the Utah weather. Some days, it’s 60 plus degrees out and you can get away with a light jacket for the chill. Hours later, you better have your thickest winter coat because it is a literal blizzard outside. 

I want to be clear; this isn’t some insane declaration of war on the powder that makes our state famous. I am just over the snow. I do not want to see it again. I want to be able to wear shorts and go for walks outdoors, I want to be able to get back out and do things like camp and swim. So, Mother Nature, if you are reading this… enough is enough! Thank you for the extra snow, we need the water, but it is time to melt it all away. Spring is here and it’s time to see that in real-time.