ST. GEORGE — As people start making plans for the Memorial Day weekend, given the higher than average snowpack over this winter, the Utah Department of Transportation recently announced that many seasonal roads in the state will be open later than usual.
“Fifteen to 20-foot accumulations of snow will likely not be melted sufficiently to have these roads opened by Memorial Day, as has been customary,” UDOT officials said on their Facebook page. “This includes Guardsman Pass, the Mirror Lake Highway and Monte Cristo.”
Despite officials saying last week that UDOT crews were expecting to have all seasonal roads from Utah County to the south opened by Memorial Day, a Facebook post from Cedar Breaks National Monument on Monday stated that the accumulation of 20 inches of snow over the past weekend, “with more forecast this coming week,” means that neither state Route 148 nor any park facilities will be open over Memorial Day weekend.
UDOT officials originally included state Route 148 where it runs through the monument with other seasonal roads that would be open in time for the holiday weekend, including Wolf Creek Pass, the Alpine Loop and Mt. Holly Junction Road. The status of Utah’s seasonal roads was last updated on May 20 and can be found here.
While the snowpack may impede some holiday travels, all of the precipitation has made this a banner year for water levels. As opposed to last winter, which water officials characterized as “abysmal,” a water supply outlook report released at the beginning of April stated that snowpack in Utah is 140 percent above normal.
“Our streamflow runoff forecasts suggest that there is a very good chance that most small to medium-size reservoirs will fill this year, and we can expect substantial improvement in water storage at our larger reservoirs,” the report states.