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Fremont County Braces For Another Year Of Flooding

Pitchengine Communities

With most of the mountains in western Wyoming still covered in deep snow, communities downstream are bracing for the spring runoff. National Weather Service meteorologist Trevor LaVoie said it’s flooded along the Big and Little Wind Rivers every spring for the last six years. He said people living on the Wind River Reservation and in other communities along those rivers should begin preparing for flooding now.

“Right now we’re looking at a high potential for the Wind River Basin once again,” he said. “So that would be communities like Crowheart, Fort Washakie, Ethete, Lander and southern portions of Riverton. And of course Hudson where the forks of the Popo Agie and the Wind River impact those communities.”

Residents and emergency responders in Fremont County are putting out flood barriers and sandbags in preparation for the possibility of a sudden melt off. He said when snow can’t melt off slowly it can inundate rivers downstream.

“By the time you get to around June 1, if those temperatures are in the 50’s, it’s just melting all day all night and that’s when everything comes down all at once. So we kind of want something slightly above freezing but certainly 40 degrees at night.”

LaVoie said flooding could also be a problem in other parts of western Wyoming like the Upper Green River Basin and along the Snake, Shoshone and Sweetwater rivers.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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