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Price area snowpack at 67 percent of normal

Sun Advocate reporter

The Utah SNOTEL Snow/Precipitation Update Report was released to the press at the last meeting of the Price River Water Improvement District (PRWID) meeting held on Tuesday, April 6.

The results, based on mountain data from various NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) SNOTEL sites, show a marked reduction of snowpack throughout the state, including the Price/San Rafael areas which recorded only 67 percent of a normal year.

According to members of the board, this situation is "well below normal," but, then again, the entire state is feeling the crunch of drought-like conditions.

In the five SNOTEL sensor areas which surround Price and her satellite communities, Seeley Creek, Buck Flat, Red Pine Ridge, Mammoth/Cottonwood, Timberline and White River, all show decreases from last year.

However, recent snowfalls in April have inched up the pack a bit. For example, Timberline received an inch of snow on April 7, but it consequently melted by the next day.

"So far, this cold weather has allowed us to keep this run-off longer than usual," said PRWID board chairman Richard Tatton. "If it turns warmer, however, that water is going to go quickly."

Other places in Utah which are at least 30 percent of normal include Bear River, Weber-Ogden, Provo/Utah Lake/Jordan River and Duchesne River.

On the other hand, some venues are exceeding last year's snowpack, includingSoutheastern Utah, Sevier River, Beaver River, Escalante River and Virgin River.

The Green River and Dirty Devil areas are almost equal to last year's capacity, at 85 and 93 percent of normal, respectively.

Still, the lower than normal snowpack around Price is not all bad news. "The SNOTEL reports that we are two-thirds of normal are not great news, but it isn't all that dire," said PRWID general manager, Jeff Richens. "Because of the management of the (Scofield) reservoir, though, we are actually one-third higher than last year. Despite the report, we should be fine for the upcoming water year (April 1 through Oct. 1)."

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