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Harvest data is rolling in from around the state, and so far, it appears to have been a bountiful year. A wet summer and dry September were especially helpful for beans, corn and livestock pastures in Wyoming, according to Rhonda Brandt with the National Agriculture Statistics Service.

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Smoke is in the air in Northern and Eastern parts of the state. But that haze isn’t from Wyoming, it’s coming from wildfires burning in Alaska and Canada.

Ralph Estell with the National Weather Service in Riverton says Canada’s fire season has started off very differently from Wyoming’s.

"We’ve had a pretty wet end of spring beginning of summer time period. It’s been pretty dry up there and their fire season has kind of exploded because of that," says Estell.

So far, 13,000 residents in Saskatchewan have been evacuated because of the fires.

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.

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The director of the Wyoming’s chapter of the Conservation Fund, Luke Lynch, was killed in an avalanche on Sunday. Lynch and three others had ascended Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park when a wet slab swept them off the mountain. One other man was seriously injured but two others survived to make a rescue call.

Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says it was the accumulation of fresh snow on top of winter snowpack that created the dangerous conditions.

Timothy Haase

If it has felt like an especially warm winter, you’re not imagining things. This year has been the third warmest winter on record in Wyoming. That’s according to the National Weather Service in Riverton. Meteorologist Chris Jones says all these balmy temperatures have been caused by a persistent ridge of high pressure along the Pacific Coast. He says temperatures have been as much as six degrees higher than normal, especially on the Western side of the state. And there are no signs that they will return to average in the next month.

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A funnel cloud prompted a brief tornado warning in Cheyenne on Wednesday.The National Weather Service sounded the alarm at about 2 p.m., soon after the funnel dropped down from a small thunderstorm in the high country west of town. Minutes later, the funnel dissipated without touching down - though not before several people snapped photos of the twister and posted the images online. The storm caused nothing worse than some light rain in the capital city. Sheriff's officials say no damage was reported.

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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.  

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The floods in Colorado could cause a spike in hay prices, which could be good and bad news for Wyoming ranchers.

Many Colorado ranchers lost their season’s hay supply in the deluges that swept across the eastern plains.  And that means many Colorado ranchers will likely turn to Wyoming hay producers to feed their livestock through the winter, if they have livestock left to feed.

Brett Moline with the Wyoming Farm Bureau says this might cause the price of hay to rise on the market.

A flash flood warning is in effect near Rockspring, there’s a flash flood watch across much of Western and Central Wyoming, and more rain is expected through the weekend. 

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After last year’s crushing drought, wetter weather is helping crops recover, and prices are dropping.

US corn yields are up, according to IHS, Inc., a company that publishes stock market industry data. The company expects corn and soybean prices to drop by 10 percent in the third-quarter of this year.

Brett Moline of the Wyoming Farm Bureau says that means it’s cheaper for feed lots to finish more cattle, which is good news for cattle ranchers. 

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Last year’s drought could impact the Wyoming water supply this summer.

The National Weather Service says that, although recent storms have helped replenish mountain snowpack, there might not be enough to get back to normal levels of runoff, which is state’s most common water source for crops and municipalities.

NWS Hydrologist Jim Fahey says that’s because the upper soil levels were parched by the drought and will likely absorb much of the runoff. Fahey says this could become especially problematic for some people during the summer months.

Unseasonable weather equally likely to stay or go

Jan 23, 2013

This year has been unusually dry so far, and the National Weather Service says it’s not clear if – or when – that trend will change.

Meteorologist Trevor LaVoie says it’s equally likely that the next few months will be wetter than usual, drier than usual, or just average.

“There’s no el niño or there’s no la niña phase that’s currently in the outlook,” LaVoie said. “So there’s no signal to say one way or the other that we’re going to be above or below average.”

Warm weather has caused Casper’s Hogadon Ski Area to postpone its opening day. The slopes were set to open this Saturday, but Anna Wyttenback of Casper’s Leisure Services Department says they’ll push it back more than a week in hopes of some 15° or colder days, when they can start making snow. Wyttenback says Hogadon isn’t worried about its ski season yet.

“I think we’ll cross that bridge as we get there, but we’re definitely hoping for a snowfall like we had last winter. And we’ll just have to wait a little further into December and see how that goes.”

Wyoming has experienced record high temperatures this month – in some cases more than 20 degrees above average. The National Weather Service says that’s because winter storms coming in from the west have been following slightly different tracks than usual.

“The lows that have developed have either gone way to our south or have gone to our north,” said Chuck Baker, a lead forecaster in Riverton.