Connecting Climate to Ag: Recent and current conditions
Wyoming experienced its 48th coldest and fourth driest February out of 128 years, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) database, retrieved March 22. The first five months of Wyoming’s water year, Oct. 1, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2022 is the 58th driest. Scaling to the county level – the adjacent tables show temperature and precipitation rankings of select counties for the month of February, as well as the water year.
The snow water equivalent (SWE) ranges from 60 to 101 percent of normal throughout Wyoming according to the March 23 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) SNOTEL report. The Cheyenne and Belle Fourche basins have the lowest SWEs, 60 percent and 67 percent, respectively. The Madison-Gallatin Basin, the northwest corner of Wyoming, has the next lowest SWE at 75 percent of normal – followed by the Snake, Upper Green and Sweetwater basins, which are each at 78 percent.
The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map for Wyoming, released March 17, shows 100 percent of Wyoming continues to experience abnormally dry conditions or moderate to extreme drought. Nearly 20 percent of Wyoming is classified as D3, extreme drought – this is more than an 8.5 percent increase in the area classified as D3 since Feb. 17.
View the current USDM map at bit.ly/2S28VTA. Consider submitting a Condition Monitoring Observer Report at bit.ly/3c4WRLR.
Forecasts: Eight to 14-Day and One Month
NOAA’s eight to 14-day forecast for March 30 – April 5, made March 22, shows a 33 to 40 percent probability or chance for below average temperatures for most of Wyoming. The exception is the northeast corner where the forecast shows near normal temperatures. For the same time frame, the forecast shows a 33 to 50 percent probability for above normal precipitation throughout Wyoming.
The April forecast, made March 17, indicates a 33 to 50 percent chance of above normal temperatures for the southern two-thirds of Wyoming and an equal chance of below, near or above normal temperatures for the rest of the state. For the same time frame, there is a 33 to 40 percent probability for below normal precipitation for most of Wyoming. The exception is the greater northwest corner of the state where there is an equal chance for below, near or above normal precipitation.
For details and to view more NOAA forecasts, visit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.
Windy K. Kelley is the Regional Extension program coordinator and state specialist for the U.S . Department of Agriculture’s Northern Plains Climate Hub and the University of Wyoming Extension and WAFERx. She can be reached at email@example.com or 307-367-4380.