Area wide snowpacks all below normal


“La Nina” cooling weather event might be to blame

It has been an interesting water year so far, with the water content of local snowpacks all below normal for this time of the year.  As of Feb. 1, the Snake River snowpacks had a median of 84 percent, last year’s median was higher at 105 percent for this time of the year.  Snowpacks are better in the Star Valley area than any other areas in the county.  The Star Valley area’s snowpacks’ water content ranged from a high at the Cottonwood Creek Snotel Site at 91 percent of median to a low at the Grover Park Divide manual snow course at 80 percent of normal.  The Greys River Drainage Basin snowpack ranged from a high at the Blind Bull Summit Snotel Site at 83 percent of median to a low at the Spring Creek Divide Snotel Site at 81 percent of median.

The Upper Bear River Basin’s snowpacks’ water contents, as of February 1st,  were 69 percent of median, about one-half of last year’s snowpacks’ median at 112 percent.  The snowpacks in the Cokeville area ranged from a high at the Big Park manual snow course at 89 percent of median to a low at the Salt River Snotel Site at 83 percent of median.  The head of the Bear River has been lagging behind all year with a high at Lily Lake Snotel Site above Evanston, Wyoming, at 66 percent of median to a low at the Monte Cristo Snotel Site at 62 percent of median.

The Lower Green River Drainage Basin’s snowpacks’ water contents were also down, showing 78 percent of median for this time of the year, compared to last year’s median  of 124 percent.   Snowpacks in the Upper Hams Fork River Drainage basin ranged from a high at the Hams Fork Snotel Site at 87 percent of median to a low at the Indian Creek Snotel Site at 72 percent of median.

There is still a lot of winter left for our snowpacks to improve.  Currently it appears we may be experiencing a “La Nina” type weather event where the Pacific Ocean is cooling, resulting in drier winters in our area with wet springs.  Overall, it is difficult to tell what is going to happen because snow moisture events currently have been so unpredictable.   Let’s see what the month of February brings before predicting any trend.

Individuals wanting more snowpack/water forecast information may contact the Lincoln Conservation District (LCD) Field Office at (307) 279-3256 or the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office in Cokeville at (307) 279-3441.  A tabulation worksheet of daily state wide Snotel site measurements may be taken off the internal at www.wrds.uwyo.edu/wrds/nrcs/snowprec/wnopre.html.

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