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Warm, dry weather continues for early December

Written by Windy Kelley

Overall, Wyoming was cooler and dryer than average in October. Looking at the broader picture, Wyoming has experienced above average temperatures and precipitation thus far this calendar year. From January to October, this has been 109th warmest and 104th wettest of 123 years.

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map from Nov. 28 shows abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions continue to persist in the northeast part of the state. Abnormally dry conditions are also present in much of Sweetwater, Carbon, Weston and Niobrara counties.

Drought conditions continue to persist in adjacent states including the majority of Montana and western parts of North and South Dakota. All of western Colorado is experiencing abnormally dry conditions with moderate drought along the western border.

View the current USDM maps at weather.gov/riw/drought.

Forecasts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) eight- to 14-day forecast for Dec. 14-20 was made Dec. 6 and indicates a 33 to 60 percent probability of above normal temperature throughout all of Wyoming with the greatest probability in western Wyoming. The precipitation forecast for the same timeframe is below normal for the western third of the state, above normal for the northeast corner and normal for the rest of the Wyoming.

To view the most current eight- to 14-day forecast visit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov and select “8-14 Day Outlook.”

There is a 65  to 75 percent chance the weak La Niña in the Pacific Ocean will continue through winter. Historic weak La Niñas have resulted in above average snow throughout much of Wyoming. However, there are limited events to understand the tendencies.

To learn more about La Niñas and the potential impacts visit goo.gl/FhA1Rz .

Ag considerations

We know winter is around the corner – although it has been slow to arrive in much of Wyoming and neighboring states. Some folks have started their winterfeed program while others are opting to wait a little longer.

The following featured resources offer tidbits of information for folks regardless if you have started your winterfeed program.

North Dakota State University Extension published “Performance of beef cows bale grazing poor-quality grass hay in winter with and without supplementation” at goo.gl/5tveR4.

“Sample and Test Hay Before Winter Feeding” from the University of Nebraska is available at goo.gl/N3JAkZ.

In 2007, Beef Magazine printed “10 Winter-Feeding Tips,” which is available online at goo.gl/7cp3Zr.

Remember to plan, monitor, know your alternatives and adapt as needed.

This article was written by UW Extension and USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub Regional Extension Program Coordinator Windy Kelley. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 307-766-2205. The column was reviewed by Wyoming Water Resources Data System Deputy Director Tony Bergantino and Justin Derner of USDA Agricultural Research Service. Dannelle Peck of USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub also reviewed the article.