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Connecting Ag to Climate Recent and Current Conditions

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Published on April 4, 2020

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) database shows that Wyoming’s overall average February temperature and precipitation ranked 45th and 100th, respectively, out of 126 years, retrieved March 20. 

            Scaling down, from the state to the county level, the average maximum February temperature anomalies ranged between +0.2 to -3.3 degrees for Sheridan and Fremont counties respectively of the past decades’ average maximum temperature. 

            The adjacent tables highlight the February minimum temperatures and precipitation information for select counties.

            The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map for Wyoming, from March 17, indicates conditions throughout the state have mostly improved since Feb. 18. However, abnormally dry conditions are persisting in southern Sweetwater County. View the current USDM maps at weather.gov/riw/drought. Help to inform the USDM by submitting conditions and impacts at droughtreporter.unl.edu/submitreport.

            The snow water equivalent (SWE) throughout Wyoming ranges from 66 to 123 percent of normal according to the March 24 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 66 percent and the Upper Belle Fourche Basin in northeast Wyoming at 92 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 April 1-7, made March 24, indicates near normal temperatures for nearly all of Wyoming. The exception is the southeast corner where there is a 33 percent chance or probability for above normaltemperatures. 

            For the same timeframe, there is a 33 percent probability for above normal precipitation for the very northeast corner of the state and a 33 percent probability for below normal in the southwest quarter of the state. The forecast for the remainder of the state is for near normal precipitation.

            The April forecast for Wyoming, made March 19, indicates an equal chance for below, near or above normal temperatures and precipitation for nearly all of Wyoming. 

            The exceptions are the northeast corner of the state where there is 33 percent probability for below normal temperatures and the southeast corner where there is a 33 percent probability for above normal precipitation. 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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