As of Oct. 1 last year, 73% of land in the Southwest was in some sort of drought. Flash forward to April and only 27% of that same region was impacted by drought.

That is according to a Tuesday briefing coordinated by the National Integrated Drought Information System and in conjunction with other entities that include the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center and the National Weather Service.

Utah sat at 100% of its land in some sort of drought, while only a few troublesome spots remain according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Utah now sits at 35% of its land in some sort of drought, but none in the exceptional or extreme categories — the worst of the worst.

Dave Simeral, associate research climatologist with the Western Regional Climate Center/Desert Research Institute based in Reno, Nevada, pointed to the whopping 253% average of precipitation the Great Basin Region received since the new water year began in October. The basin stretches from the Sierras on the West to the Wasatch Range in Utah.

And Lake Powell, which is only 22% full and threatening power generation for a half dozen states, is projected to get 177% of normal inflows this runoff season, but that amount is absent any diversions along the way. While the water that gets there will be far short of filling it, that water represents some measure of relief.

That relief also may be bolstered by potential cuts to the Colorado River’s Lower Basin states under consideration by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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Water flows through a swollen Weber River, near the Ogden Kayak Park, in Ogden on Monday, April 17, 2023. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin is projected at anywhere between 90% and 305%, which bodes well for Lake Powell and other reservoirs.

Simeral said because of the active weather pattern of storms and cooler temperatures, Utah is experiencing record snowfall and snow water equivalent — the amount of water contained in that snow. Alta, for example, has logged 73 feet of snow, with more expected to come.

58 feet of snow? Try that on for a wet mountain range in California

“We have had a number of heat waves in the past several spring times that have not been good in terms of runoff, so this is really nice,” Simeral said. “We have had some nice, uniform, cooler than normal temperatures across the region, which is going to help the snowpack hang around. Hopefully we won’t heat up too much moving forward into the late spring.”

California is one of those states like Utah that has stark comparisons drawn between October going into April, with much of the Golden State’s land area impacted only by abnormally dry status or moderate drought.

And all that water is good for soil conditions, according to the integrated drought information center, with measurements showing a good recovery so far.