snow

Snowpack Continues To Rise

May 23, 2017
Emmanuel Boutet

Wyoming’s snowpack has risen to the point where heavy flooding is more and more likely. 

State Hydrologist Lee Hackleman says snowpack has climbed from 115-percent of median to 176-percent.  Hackleman says the weather has him nervous.

"Well if it stays cool and rainy like this long enough, we know that when it warms up it’s gonna warm up fast and implications are that we will have some flooding then. We’d be better off if it was a little warmer now and we’d have a little better start on the melt out."

Rocky Mountains, Wind River Range
Provided by Wikipedia

A flood watch is active in the north central part of Wyoming. Recent warm weather combined with a spring snow storm is speeding up the already high levels of runoff in the state’s mountains.  

Streams in the eastern and central part of the state are also beginning to run high: in the Shoshone, Big Horn, Wind, and Powder River Basins.  

In the Wind River Mountains, snow pack is 237-percent higher than usual according to the emergency management agency in Fremont County. 

Irina Zhorov

The potentially record-breaking snow storm hitting southeastern Wyoming is causing major impacts to travel and infrastructure. I-80 is closed between Laramie and Cheyenne, and Eastbound lanes of that interstate are closed between Laramie and Rock Springs. Several smaller highways in southern Wyoming have also closed due to winter conditions.

Tennessee Watson

A winter storm this week brought even more snow to the Tetons and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed Tuesday because of high winds and avalanche danger. But, those spiny peaks aren’t the only place in Wyoming where snow must be approached with caution. Fresh powder beckons snow enthusiasts to get out and play. Every year, Wyoming sees multiple fatalities from avalanches. All you need is the wrong combination of terrain, snow and weather, and there could be a problem.

Kenneth W Gerard

It turns out there can be too much of a good thing, even when it comes to snow in a ski town like Jackson.

Earlier this week, a series of winter storms caused the roof of a building that housed three businesses to collapse there. Then, Monday night, winds in excess of 90 miles an hour buckled about ten steel transmission poles, leaving several areas around Jackson without power, including Teton Village. About 3,000 people have been affected by the outage.

Dr. Lawrence Todd

Climate change is revealing Wyoming artifacts hidden by ice for 10,000 years. Scientists are flocking to the melting snow and ice fields. And the world is watching.

The Prince of Monaco, among others, is giving a lot of money to support a science emerging in the mountains of Wyoming.

Prince Albert II talked about climate change, and his foundation’s support of scientific research on climate change when he came to Cody in 2013.

Wikimedia Commons

Ski resorts in Wyoming’s western mountains are seeing historic snow depths because of heavy snowfall that first began in early December.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort spokeswoman Anna Cole said the resort is now 100 percent open after a delayed season because there wasn’t enough snow early on. But Cole said the resort has made up for that delay.

Mike Wood

A blizzard in the Beartooth Mountains outside Cody, trapped snow plow drivers and even the tow truck that came to pull them out. An amazing rescue saved one plow truck driver who spent all night in the cab of his plow. He survived deadly cold and wind.

In Cody on Monday morning, just as temperatures rose above freezing for the first time in four days, blinding blowing snow trapped a big backhoe in a drift, and it had to be pulled out with another rig.

Irina Zhorov

After an extremely mild and dry fall, winter weather is finally making an appearance in Wyoming. Most of the state is under Winter Storm Warnings, Watches, and Winter Weather Advisories through tonight and Thursday, with the heaviest snowfall hitting Thursday morning. 

Wikipedia Creative Commons, by Greg Younger

A heavy snowstorm that will bring several inches of snow to western, northern and central Wyoming is heading into the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Hattings in Riverton is keeping an eye on the storm.

“It looks like the main trouble spot is mostly going to be in the central portion of the state. The most snow will be from Lander-Riverton and running through Casper and Douglas. And also, obviously, in some of the higher elevations from the Wind River range over to Casper Mountain.”

James Rumminger

Winter weather conditions with snow and strong winds will make Thanksgiving travel difficult.  Most of the snow will fall in central Wyoming, Fremont County could see around 8 inches. 

But Riverton based National Weather Service Meteorologist Paul Skrbac says snow statewide will make driving a challenge.           

The Jackson area saw its first significant snowfall of the season this week, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is busy preparing to open its slopes. The early-season storm brought more than 20 inches to the top of the mountain.

"We are definitely seeing some great traffic from this new snow," said Anna Cole, spokeswoman for the resort. "We are seeing people actively calling and planning vacations. This is our, this is a very busy time of year."

Although the winter storm dropped plenty of snow, Cole says they’re also making snow, to help cover the base of the mountain.

Anna Rader

The first snow storm of the season has arrived in Laramie! Here's what the University of Wyoming campus looks like this morning. How about your neck of the woods?

Let us know on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Share your photos and comments.

Despite this winter storm being relatively small by Wyoming standards, love it or hate it, winter is coming. 

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort / Instagram

A low pressure system that moved through Wyoming Monday brought some strange weather, including strong winds statewide and snow in the upper elevations in the Tetons.

Gusts nearing 70 miles per hour were recorded in the Jackson area, and windy conditions fueled wildfires in Natrona and Sweetwater Counties.

Dave Lipson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, says this kind of weather is more typical of September or October.

David Koch

For some Wyoming residents, Memorial Day weekend means enjoying the season’s first drive over a mountain pass that’s been closed all winter. Barring any major snow storms, Wyoming Department of Transportation says most seasonal closures over the state’s mountain passes should re-open in time for Memorial Day weekend.

District engineer Pat Persson manages snow removal on the Snowy Range between Laramie and Saratoga. He says it’s been an easier job this year than year’s past because the snow pack isn’t as deep. But he says, a snowstorm could still quickly move in and slow progress.

Caroline Ballard

Southeastern Wyoming may be seeing heavy snow this weekend, but if you have tried skiing there over the past month or so, you may have run into a problem: dirt. With temperatures consistently in the 40s and 50s and little precipitation, snowpack in this part of the state is well below average. 

Cross country skiing on the icy slush isn't fun. Just ask Matthew Klump, a sophomore at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He’s just finished  skiing a Valentine’s Day weekend race at Happy Jack, and is recounting the race with some of his teammates.

Stories about people who grew up skiing.

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

Snowpack around the state is above average this year. Tony Bergantino, a climatologist with the Wyoming State Climate Office, says it’s the highest snowpack on record in five of Wyoming's basins. 

“They’re all above normal, and up in the upper northwest and southwest and in the central part of the state, they’re at the lowest,” se says. “And that’s still about 114-115 percent of normal.”

Bergantino says the snowy winter has brought most of the state out of drought conditions.  

Associated Press

Heavy snowfall this winter has crashed the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s budget.  Budget Officer Kevin Hibbard says WYDOT budgeted $22-million, but the department over-spent that amount at the beginning of March.  

“February this year was the most expensive month,” Hibbard says.  “We had about 6-million dollars in snow control expenditures in the month of February.”

Irina Zhorov

Women still only make up a small percentage of all hunters, but that number has increased significantly in recent years. Now, organizations like the Wyoming Women’s Foundation want to encourage more growth through mentorship. The group says hunting is an important way to teach self-sufficiency and economic independence. Wyoming Public Radio's Irina Zhorov tagged along on the state's inaugural Women's Antelope Hunt and filed this report.  

Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune / AP Photo

WEB: branches down    Casper was hard hit by last week’s early winter storm. The heavy snow felled many branches around the city, causing extensive damage. Assistant Public Services Director for the City of Casper, Peter Meyers, says branch cleanup will likely continue for the next several weeks.

Snowpack up and down in Wyoming

Dec 18, 2012

While much of the state is at or slightly above average when it comes to snowfall this year, the eastern and southern portions of the state are well below average. 

Some people worry that another drought is on the way, which could lead to problems for agriculture producers and for forest managers next spring and summer. 

But Lee Hackleman of the Natural Resources Conservation Service says it’s much too early to be concerned.

Avalanche risk 'considerable' at high elevations

Dec 3, 2012

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has raised the risk of avalanches to “considerable” for areas above 9,000 feet.

The Center’s Mike Rheam says that means naturally occurring avalanches are possible, and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Rheam says there’s a two-foot slab of new snow at high elevations in western Wyoming, which could give way easily.