February the second wettest month of the water year in a four-county central Utah area - tried hard but failed to break the backbone of an ongoing drought.
February delivered more water than it usually does, both in the valleys and on the watersheds, but made only a dent in the precipitation shortfall.A Soil Conservation Service snow survey crew that went via helicopter onto the watersheds in the Emery-Juab-Sanpete-Sevier area the last of February found this situation on the snow courses, according to Ralph Mickelson, who assembles precipitation data for the SCS's Manti office:
The snow cover at the Seeley Creek Ranger Station high on Manti Mountain is 28 inches deep. It contains 7.3 inches of water, which is 53 percent of normal.
At the Mammoth course at the head of Huntington Canyon, there are 53 inches of snow containing 14.7 inches of water, 81 percent of normal.
The Reese's Flat course east of Levan has 41 inches of snow, containing 9.9 inches of water, 88 percent of normal. It is the highest in the four-county area.
The Horseshoe Mountain site in Fairview Canyon has 46 inches of snow, containing 13.3 inches of water, 62 percent of the long-time average.
In Ephraim Canyon, the snow depth at the Meadows is 55 inches. Its water content is 14.1 inches, 71 percent. Lower in the watershed the Headquarters site has 45 inches of snow, with 11.8 inches of water, 83 percent. Measurements taken at the Beaver Dams, near the bottom of Twelve Mile Canyon east of Mayfield, show 27 inches of snow, with 6.8 inches of water, 65 percent, and at the Mt. Baldy Ranger Station, high in the canyon, 51 inches of snow, containing 12.4 inches of water, 61 percent.
Measurements were taken at three courses in the highly critical Salina Canyon drainage. There are 35 inches of snow, with 8.7 inches of water, at the Gooseberry Ranger Station, 86 percent, and Farnsworth Lake has 44 inches of snow, with 10.7 inches of water, 69 percent.
The Gunnison Reservoir, Sanpete County's principal impoundment, is at 10 percent of capacity but is expected to fill from the early low-country runoff.