Ronald Reagan was president, "Ghostbusters" reigned supreme at the box office, and Prince's "When Doves Cry" topped the charts in 1984.

That was also the last time Utah's snowpack surpassed as high as it is now.

This week's storms boosted Utah's statewide snowpack up to 25.1 inches of snow water equivalent by Wednesday, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data. It's only the fourth time Utah's snowpack has reached at least 25 inches since modern records began in 1980, and the first time in 39 years since it reached 25.2 inches in 1984.

The other two occurrences were in 1982 (25.5 inches) and 1983 (26 inches). The 2023 figure lept to 25.7 inches in the agency's update Thursday morning, less than a half-inch of water from the all-time record set 40 years ago.

Utah's forecast calls for cooler and wetter conditions for the rest of the week. The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center projections indicate a higher probability for more storm action to close out the month, as well, so the record is likely.

Meanwhile, as the snow continues to pile up in the mountains this week, Utah water managers are still preparing for when it melts, sending all that water into the rivers and streams that flow in the state's lakes and reservoirs. The Utah Division of Water Resources provided an update on the conditions Tuesday as a part of the agency's regular drought updates.

This graph shows Utah's 2023 snowpack (in black) as of Thursday morning compared to snowpack collections since the 1980s. This year is now within 0.3 inches of the all-time record set in April 1983.
This graph shows Utah's 2023 snowpack (in black) as of Thursday morning compared to snowpack collections since the 1980s. This year is now within 0.3 inches of the all-time record set in April 1983. | Natural Resources Conservation Service

Candice Hasenyager, the division's director, reiterated that water managers are hoping for a "gradual melt" in the coming weeks and months so that rivers and streams aren't overwhelmed and flooding isn't a severe problem. Experts say that gradual melt happened in 2011, the last time Utah's snowpack reached at least 24 inches, and it reduced the severity of the flooding that year.

"The way our snowpack melts is something our division and the Utah Division of Emergency Management is monitoring closely," Hasenyager said.

The storms have already improved Utah's statewide reservoirs, which jumped from 42.5% of capacity at the beginning of the water year on Oct. 1 to 55.1% as of Wednesday, according to the division's data. The current figure is now above where reservoir water levels were at this point last year and only 6 percentage points below the normal levels for late March.

Troy Brosten, a hydrologist and Natural Resources Conservation Service, told KSL.com last week that many small and medium-sized reservoirs are expected to return to near capacity or full capacity this year, while most large reservoirs will likely take longer.

But no matter what happens during the snowmelt season, Hasenyager said the state should take advantage of the opportunities the wet weather has provided this season.

"We have a chance to take full advantage of this year's snowpack by taking steps to be drought resilient," she said. "If you're a farmer, check out the Agricultural Optimization Program and if you're a resident, look for tips and tricks on Slow The Flow. All the water provided by Mother Nature means we don't need to irrigate as much to make things grow."