ST. GEORGE – Due to a dry winter that has left the state with ‘dangerously low’ snowpacks, Gov. Gary Herbert has sent a letter to faith leaders asking them and their congregations to pray for snow.
Herbert displayed the letter over social media Friday on the eve of a late-winter snowstorm forecast weekend in northern Utah.
In his letter, posted Feb. 22, Herbert recounts to faith leaders how he asked in 2012 for prayers for “providential help” in fighting fires across the state during a “bitterly hot, dry and windy summer” that turned the state into “a tinderbox.”
“And you responded with your prayers in your synagogues, your mosques, your cathedrals, your chapels, and your homes, asking that life and property by protected and that the elements be tempered,” Herbert wrote.
“Within days of your collective prayers the rains came.”
Now the state faces a similar challenge due to a winter season that that hasn’t yielded favorable snowpacks.
In some parts of the state, the snowpack is dangerously low and has been as low as 41 percent, Herbert said in a Facebook post last Friday.
“Although we have just received some fresh snow, this year’s uncharacteristically warm and dry weather pattern has left the state with about half the snowpack that we might experience in a regular year,” Herbert wrote in the letter.
As of Monday, parts of northern Utah have snowpacks between 55 and 79 percent of normal, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Southern Utah’s snowpack is at 47 percent of normal, according to NRCS data. In early February the snowpack was at 37 percent.
Due to the poor snowpack, officials at the Washington County Water Conservancy District have said Washington County residents will likely be living off of reservoir storage this year.
“Because the health of our waterways, our wetlands, our agriculture, and our forests in particular depend on an abundant snowpack and because none of us can afford to witness the destruction that comes with wildfire,” Herbert wrote, “I am again reaching out to you and your faith communities with an invitation to unite in prayer.
“As you gather in your places of worship and in your homes during the first week of March, would you please join me in a special prayer? First and foremost, I believe we should thank our Creator for the extraordinary blessings what we enjoy as a state. But I also encourage us to pray that the elements be tempered on our behalf.”
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