What does all this rain mean for us?
There is HUGE precipitation happening all over Utah, but the impact on the desert will be different than you think.
Last week, Gunlock Falls came back into being, and the Santa Clara River was overfilled from all the rain. This week we have more rain coming for the next few days which means slick roads, possible flooding, and high winds.
Many Southern Utahns have been prepping since last week and have been warned by the National Weather Service that it was going to be a wet few days.
The NWS gave a Tweet to show what Utah would be seeing:
Southern Utah is already above the halfway mark of its annual precipitation, NWS Salt Lake City Meteorologist Jon Wilson said.
“In total at St. George, there's been 6.85 inches of precipitation, much of that rain, just a small amount is snow as well. But when you melt that down all of that combined 6.85 inches average for a full year there is 9.3,” Wilson said.
St. George is about two inches shy of reaching the annual inches of precipitation for the year and its only March.
With heavy snows up north and rain in the south, this spring is setting up to continue watering Utah. However, flooding is a concern. Especially in places like Zion National Park where flash flooding occurs and unknowing hikers can get swept away.
“It only takes about 12 inches of moving water to sweep something away, and only about six inches to sweep someone off their feet. So, it's a much lower amount than a lot of people would probably guess in terms of water it takes to move something,” Wilson said.
With all this water many are wondering how this will impact the ongoing drought.
“Currently, much of the state of Utah is in the category of moderate drought. So, it ranges from abnormally dry all the way to exceptional drought,” Wilson said. “Moderate is just a step above abnormally dry. And in the St. George area, Washington County area, portions are in that abnormally dry or moderate drought. So, it has improved drastically over the course of the winter.”
The only thing with all this rain is that it's been heavy and coming in waves. Wilson said that if Southern Utah were to rapidly heat up, snow melt and rain would cause flooding later on. This will be especially true if its not a gradual increase in precipitation.
Tuesday into Wednesday St. George can expect more rainfall as the storm moves on.