Riverton residents have just about had enough of a record 2022-23 winter season.
“I'm happy for the moisture; however, this is getting ridiculous with snow!” reads one comment on the National Weather Service Riverton Office Facebook page.
Riverton’s total accumulated snowfall reached 92.6 inches over the weekend, which broke a record that has stood for more than 100 years, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brett McDonald.
“The previous record was an even 92 inches,” McDonald told Cowboy State Daily, “and that was the winter of 1919-1920.”
Riverton’s Snow Patterns
McDonald, who is based in the Riverton office of the NWS, explained that the weather patterns that bring heavy snowfall there are different from what is experienced in western Wyoming.
“They tend to get more of the snowfall when you get moist, westerly or southwesterly flow coming in from the intermountain west,” he said, pointing out that on the Riverton side of the divide, snowfall comes when cold air from Montana combines with moisture coming in from the southwest, with east or northeasterly winds.
“So, it's kind of like from eastern Wyoming back into our area,” said McDonald. “All of the locations that are on the east side of the Continental Divide tend to get their heaviest snows when you get more of what we call the wrap-around.”
Less than two weeks ago, Riverton broke another longstanding record. On April 9, the city broke a 151-day streak of temperatures not climbing above 50 degrees, which topped the previous record of 128 days set in 2001.
Noah Myers with the NWS Riverton office blamed this year’s lengthy cold stretch on the snow.
“We had a lot of snow on the ground,” Myers told Cowboy State Daily. “The weather systems this year have been just really cold, and the snow helps keep that cold in.”
Photo: Many areas around Wyoming this past winter measured snowfall in feet, not inches. Here's a road-clearing effort after a storm near Riverton. (Wyoming Department of Transportation via Facebook)