Wyoming Drought: Winter Storms Helping But Most of State in Severe Drought

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By Tom Ninneman, Cowboy State Daily

Recent winter storms have had a positive impact on the snow-water content in sites measured around the state of Wyoming.  

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, accumulations were highest in the Yellowstone Headwaters area where the snow water equivalent was 110% of normal as of Thursday. 

The Madison Headwaters on the west side of Yellowstone National Park reported 89% of normal. The Shoshone River Basin east of the park measured 109% and the Snake River Basin reporting stations revealed 101% of normal. 

To the south, the upper Green River Basin posted 95% of normal. 

The other side of the state however is still experiencing drought, with the South Platte River Basin reporting 26% of normal snow water equivalent. 

Statewide, Wyoming currently has a snow-water equivalent of nearly 96%.

Despite the extra moisture, however, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that much of the state is in a drought.

As of Tuesday, drought conditions around the state ranged from “abnormally dry” in the state’s northwestern coroner to “extreme drought” in central Wyoming, including parts of Natrona, Fremont, Hot Springs, Washakie, Big Horn, Johnson, Converse and Carbon counties.

According to the Drought Monitor, 22.71% of the state is in extreme drought. Most of the state, 38.25%, is under what the monitor calls a “severe drought. Only 2.2% of the state is not considered to be in a drought.

The Drought Monitor is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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