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High snowpack, warm temperatures increase flooding risk across Wyo

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Snow water equivalents (SWE) across Wyoming continue at the high levels that have been seen through the spring, and in his final Monday Morning Snow Report of the year, Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Supply Specialist Lee Hackleman commented, “We are ending the year at 228 percent of median for the state.”

Hackleman clarifies, “This only means we have 228 percent of median snowpack for this time of year – not total snowpack.”

Last year at this time, Wyoming’s median snowpack was 122 percent, with a low of zero percent and a high of 350 percent. However, this year, the median is 228 percent, with a low of zero percent and a high of 836 percent of median. Lows occur in the Belle Fourche, Cheyenne and Lower North Platte basins, and the high is found in the Sweetwater Basin.

As temperatures warm up, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued hazardous weather outlooks for western and central Wyoming, noting “potential for some flooding to develop along creeks, streams and rivers due to rapid mountain snowmelt.”

Additional, they posted a Flood Watch for the Wind River, Green River and Shoshone River Basins for June 2-4.

“Sharp increases in the water levels on rivers and creeks are anticipated in the Flood Watch area by June 4. Minor flooding is expected June 3-4 along the main stem rivers, including the Green, Wind, Little Wind and Shoshone rivers by June 3-4,” said NWS.

They forecast that mountain temperatures where snow remains will range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and basin temperatures could reach the low 90s by the afternoon of June 4.

“People living near flood-prone areas should closely monitor water levels through the end of next week,” said NWS. “Mountain streams run the highest in the late afternoon through early evening hours. Foothill communities typically see the highest levels during the late evening and early morning hours.”

Sheridan County is also under a Flood Warning, with mainly minor flooding possible.

NWS offices in Billings, Mont. noted, “Those with interest near rivers and streams should be alert to the rising water levels over the next several days and take appropriate measures to protect livestock and property.”

For the latest updates, visit Saige Albert, managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, can be reached at

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