BY TOM BUSSELBERG
LAYTON - Snow pack stood at 81 percent of normal on Monday. But if you're reading this on Thursday, that level likely has dropped into the mid-70s.
That's because snow pack melts off at a rate of 1-1 1/2 percent each day without any new precipitation, depending on the temperature, said Scott Paxman. He's assistant director of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.
"Especially with the two prior drought years, we've depleted our reservoirs significantly," he said.
Reservoirs are at about 35 percent of capacity, right now.
"Last year, we had a better early winter, then very little precipitation after the first of the year," Paxman said.
The year ended with a snow pack tally of about 70 percent, near where it stood last week, he said.
"That's kind of where we're heading this year, unless we get some strong storms in. We need a storm a week," to produce needed snow pack, Paxman said.
With forecasts indicating no significant precipitation until at least next week, that could drop snow pack levels back into the 70s, he said.
Long-range forecasts don't give much hope for a strong snow pack, he said.
"All they tell us we're not in that normal storm pattern. Our chances of getting storms are at 50-50," Paxman said.
This year has neither an "el Nino" or "la Nina" storm pattern in place, relating to ocean temperatures, he said.
It's still too early in the season to get seriously concerned.
"We've got some time, that's for sure," Paxman said. "The one thing that forecasters told us, if you're around 75 percent of normal, which we are, there's a 20 percent chance that you could ever get back up to normal."
If conditions don't get more rosy, it's likely there will be "...a little harder push" on conservation, and other restrictions could be imposed, according to Paxman.
"We'll know a lot better as far as the outlook by the end of February. That's when we will do a really hard look on where we're going to be a far a the outlook, he said.