An unfortunate aspect of this hot dry weather is a loss of moisture from the big rains we had from September 14–16. As shown in the chart below for the Mill D North SNOTEL in Big Cottonwood Canyon, those big rains greatly increased the soil moisture content of the soils at both 2 and 8 inch depths.
|Data Source: NRCS|
In the mountains, if that moisture is not replaced before the first snows, the soils will be the first place that the snowmelt goes in the spring (rather than to the rivers and streams). That might be a good thing if we end up having a huge snow year, but if our run of meager winters continues, it would exacerbate the crappy runoff situation even further. As we have discussed previously (see Wasatch Weather Weenies Survival Guide for El Nino), the current Super El Nino doesn't really load the dice one way or the other for us, so at this point, we have to have a wait-and-see approach to what happens between now and the first snows, as well as during the winter.