Mild winter results in varying snow pack across Wyoming


Wyoming snowpack map as of Wednesday, Feb. 7. The map is color-coded by what percentage of the average snowpack is currently being observed. (COURTESY PHOTO  / Wyoming Water Resources)

As of the start of February, area wide snow courses’ water equivalents are above average in the northwest corner of the state and below average in the southwest corner of the state. 

Low elevation snow courses are way below average, while high elevational snow courses are above average. 

It is an unusual water year, especially compared to the tough winter last year. 

Winter temperatures have been exceedingly warm compared to past years.

It has been a weather pattern quite comfortable for wildlife, livestock and of course humans.

The Snake River Drainage Basin snow packs collectively, as of February 5th, were 123 percent of median, not too far off last year’s median at 135 percent. 

Snow packs in Star Valley range from a low at the CCC Camp manual snow course site at 90 percent of median to a high at Willow Creek Snotel Site at 120 percent of median.

The Greys River Drainage Basin ranged from a low at the Spring Creek Divide Snotel Site at 117 percent of median to a high at Blind Bull Summit Snotel Site at 160 percent of median.

As of Jan. 1, the Greys River was predicted to flow 96 percent of average. The Salt River was predicted to flow 82 percent of average.

The Palisades Reservoir, as of January 1st, was 97 percent of capacity.

The Upper Bear River Drainage snow packs collectively, as of Feb. 5, were 80 percent of median.  Last year at this time, snow packs were 164 percent of median, double this year’s snow pack. 

The snow courses in the Upper Bear River Watershed ranged from a low at Monte Cristo Snotel Site at 77 percent of median to a high at the Lily Lake Snotel Site at 89 percent of median south of Evanston, Wyoming.

The Smiths Fork River Watershed, northeast of Cokeville, Wyoming, snow packs ranged from a high at the Big Park manual snow course at 105 percent of median to a low at the Salt River Summit Snotel Site at 82 percent of median.

The Bear River, as of January 1st, was predicted to flow 82 percent of average at the Utah-Wyoming State Line.

The Smiths Fork River, as of January 1st, was predicted to flow 91 percent of average. The Woodruff Narrows Reservoir, as of January 1, is 80 percent of capacity. 

The Lower Green River Drainage Basin’s snow packs collectively, as of February 5, were 89 percent of median. Last year’s snow packs were 152 percent of median. The Upper Hams Fork River Watershed ranged from a low at the Hams Fork Snotel Site at 76 percent of median to a high at the Indian Creek Snotel Site at 93 percent of median.

The Hams Fork River, as of January 1st, was predicted to flow 72 percent of average at the Viva Naughton Reservoir inflow.

Viva Naughton Reservoir is about 78 percent of capacity.      

This current water year is stating a little slow but not alarming yet.

A lot of winter is yet to come. It has been pleasant so far to have warmer temperatures this winter. It currently looks like southwest Wyoming is going to have a mild winter.

Overall, the high elevation snow packs are doing well.

This is good for irrigation water this coming spring and throughout the summer months.

The big concern for the low elevations is the need to have moisture in the soil to initiate grass growth. 

Early spring moisture in the form of rain helps the most on low elevation rangelands. Hopefully, rains will be abundant come early spring.

Individuals want more snow pack or 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.

Snow pack data is also available from the University of Wyoming’s Water Resources Data System and State Climate Office at wrds.uwyo.edu.


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