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Connecting Ag to Climate Recent and Current Conditions

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) database shows Wyoming’s overall average January temperature and precipitation ranked 110th and 70th, respectively, out of the 126 years data have been collected, retrieved Feb. 25. 

            Taking a closer look, the average minimum and maximum January temperatures for all Wyoming counties were warmer than the average from the last century – ranging between 3.8 to 8.4°F and 0.3 to 8.7°F warmer, respectively. 

            The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map for Wyoming, from Feb. 18, indicates conditions throughout the state have mostly improved. This includes the southwest region, where abnormally dry conditions had continued for several months. That said, abnormally dry conditions are persisting in much of Big Horn County into eastern Park County – as well as in southern Sweetwater County. 

            View the current USDM maps at weather.gov/riw/drought. Individuals can help inform the USDM by submitting conditions and impacts at droughtreporter.unl.edu/submitreport.

            The snow water equivalent (SWE) throughout Wyoming ranges from 81 to 142 percent of normal, according to the Feb. 25 USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Snow Telemetry report. 

            The two areas with the lowest SWE are the southern portion of Fremont County, just north of the Great Divide Basin at 84 percent and the Belle Fourche Basin in northeast Wyoming at 81 percent. View the current SWE map at colorado.edu/climate/dashboard.html.

Eight to 14-day and one-month forecasts

            NOAA’s eight to 14-day forecasts for March 4-10, made Feb. 25, indicates near normal temperatures for all of Wyoming. There is a 33 percent chance or probability for above normal precipitation for much of the state for the same timeframe. 

            The exception is northern Teton County into Yellowstone National Park – where near normal precipitation is expected.

            The March forecast for Wyoming, made Feb. 20, indicates an equal chance for below, near or above normal temperatures and precipitation for nearly the entire state.            The exception is the southeast corner where there is a 33 percent probability of below normal temperatures. To view NOAA’s most recent forecasts, visit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

            Windy K. Kelley is the regional Extension program coordinator and state specialist for the USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub, University of Wyoming Extension and WAFERx. She can be reached at wkelley1@uwyo.edu  or 307-367-4325.

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