What does all this snow mean for us down the road? It depends. Greg Beckstrom, the deputy Public Works director over storm water, has this to say about the heavy snow fall this year:
The water content in the snow pack in the mountains east of Provo is double the normal levels for this time of year. Current water content in the snow pack is 21-22″, compared to normal levels of 10-11″ at this time of year. These snow pack levels normally peak in early April at 24-25″ of water.
This high early snow pack creates the potential for heavy peak spring runoff flows out of frontal canyons east of Provo and in the Provo River. There are three main factors which determine the magnitude of peak runoff flows. Two of those factors, April snow pack levels and soil moisture conditions, are likely to be above, to well above, average this year. The most important factor, however, is the spring weather. Cool, wet weather, followed by suddenly hot temperatures would favor high runoff flows. Dry, gradually warming weather would moderate peak runoff flows.
The last time we had these high January snow pack levels was 1997. Spring runoff that year was above average, but well within manageable levels.