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Wyoming Snowpacks Below Average So Far

NRCS Wyoming

According to a recent report, most of Wyoming snowpacks are below average, with the majority seeing anywhere from just 70 to 89 percent of the 30-year median average. Only the Yellowstone and Shosone basins in the Northwest are close to average.

Jim Fahey, Wyoming Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) hydrologist, said much of the state has been experiencing varying levels of drought since the summer. But there's still time to gain more moisture.

"Our main snowpack months, where especially west of the continental divide is January through March," he said. "Then most of the state is east of the continental divide is really dependent upon the spring precipitation. A lot of areas east divide get up to 60 percent of the precipitation for the year during that mid-March to early June timeframe."

According to the Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, much of central Wyoming and some other areas are currently in extreme drought conditions. In July, some parts of North-Central Wyoming entered extreme drought conditions for the first time since October 2018.

Though weather forecasters have predicted a wet winter due to La Niña, Fahey said that prediction is only applicable to northern wyoming.

"[There's] a little concern with really the dry Laramie range, which includes the lower North Platte, and the Laramie watershed and the upper North Platte. I'd be concerned with them because the pattern that we're advertising with Alinea really does not affect that area with moisture," he said.

Fahey said the upcoming week's forecasts don't look promising for an abundance of moisture.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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