Weather outlook NWS predicts normal precipitation, temperatures as 2017 begins
“Looking out beyond February, it’s a little more challenging, and we get more general with our predictions,” says National Weather Service (NWS) Team Cheyenne Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chad Hahn.
As blustery conditions hit Wyoming and producers plan for the upcoming year, Hahn and NWS Team Riverton Meteorologist David Lipson provide the weather outlook, as well as tips for preparing for winter and spring storms.
When making weather predictions beyond two weeks, temperatures measured over the Pacific Ocean are used, says Lipson.
“Usually when we have cool temperatures, we will measure La Niña activity versus an El Niño,” continues Lipson.
Hahn explains that weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean influence weather patterns throughout the world.
“We are currently in a weak La Niña pattern. La Niña is when cooler temperatures are observed across the tropical Pacific Ocean that cause changes in the weather pattern downstream, which is what we are seeing here in Wyoming,” says Hahn.
Following substantial winter storms with below average temperatures, Wyomingites can expect drier and continued cold weather through the beginning of the year.
As the new year starts, the state may see an increase in precipitation.
“The long story short is, the next week is going to be dry, and then, as we get into the first part of next year, it looks like we’ll have above normal precipitation,” explains Hahn.
Temperature trends will likely be more normal through the first three months of 2017.
Winter storms and precipitation will also continue to occur, says Hahn.
“Looking out to January, February and March, the biggest thing that we can point to is a continued active pattern in the central and western part of the state,” explains Hahn.
“Similar to what we’ve been seeing in recent weeks with the continual snow across the western mountains, these trends will likely continue through the first part of the new year. This weather pattern may spread into central Wyoming, as well,” Hahn continues.
In the first three months of 2017, Wyoming may see normal precipitation with a possibility of above normal temperatures, explains Lipson.
“Generally speaking, there is expected to be normal amounts of precipitation and a 30 to 40 percent chance of above normal temperatures based on a weak La Niña,” says Lipson.
“We’ll probably trend back to more normal temperatures after the first three months of 2017,” continues Hahn.
Typically, the snowiest months of the year for Wyoming are March and April, comments Hahn.
However, as the La Niña is weak, it is difficult to make long-term predictions.
“The La Niña pattern this go-around is fairly weak, which tends to be less indicative of what’s going to occur. We feel more confident this isn’t a strong El Niño or La Niña pattern,” says Hahn.
Currently, weather models are predicting that weather patterns would be more neutral, or normal.
“What we do feel is the overall likelihood will trend toward more normal conditions, for the upcoming year,” continues Hahn.
“We’ve seen these cold snaps already this year where we’ve been dealing with the cold and the precipitation with our livestock,” says Hahn.
It is important for producers to stay informed about upcoming weather situations and to be able to take appropriate actions to provide shelter.
“The cold snaps and snowy weather are going to continue through the first part of next year. That’s the most immediate hazard that we’re concerned about when it comes to livestock,” continues Hahn.
Many resources are available to stay updated with local weather predictions from the National Weather Service.
“There’s a whole slew of information on our website at weather.gov for producers to get weather information,” continues Hahn.
He also notes that the Cheyenne and Riverton NWS offices are staffed around the clock and are available to visit with producers on the phone or via social media.
“Producers can get weather information any time of the day,” says Hahn. “If they need more specifics when that 30 percent chance of snow isn’t enough for them, we can provide additional details on the phone and on social media, as well.”
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.