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Forecast Sees Increased Precip

Written by Windy Kelley

Wyoming experienced its 37th warmest September in the 122 years data have been collected. Higher nighttime temperatures drove the overall warmth for the month instead of daytime temperatures. The state also experienced its 15th wettest September in the last 122 years. On a more local scale, Sheridan, Johnson, and northern Campbell counties experienced their fourth wettest September on record.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map, released on Oct. 20, shows conditions have continued to improve in areas of Wyoming. However, moderate drought persists throughout parts of Crook, Weston, Campbell, Niobrara and Park counties. Some areas of Campbell, Crook and Weston counties are still experiencing severe drought.

Many other counties in Wyoming continue to experience abnormally dry conditions, which has expanded in Carbon County.

To view the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map, which is updated weekly, visit weather.gov/riw/drought.

The Seasonal Drought Outlook for Oct. 20 to Jan. 31, 2017 shows drought conditions are expected to improve everywhere except in areas of Crook, Weston and Campbell counties, which are currently experiencing severe drought. Conditions in these areas are likely to remain but improve.

Monthly and seasonal forecasts

As of Oct. 20, all of Wyoming has a greater probability – greater than 30 percent – to experience above normal temperatures in November. The precipitation signal for the northern half of the state indicates above normal precipitation, with a probability of 33 percent, for November. The precipitation signal for the southern half of Wyoming is less clear, with equal chances of above, below or normal.

The seasonal November through January outlook for Wyoming shows a 40 to 50 percent probability of above normal temperatures throughout Wyoming, except for the northern quarter to half of the state, where there is an equal chance for above, below or normal temperatures.

The seasonal precipitation outlook for Wyoming shows a 40 percent probability of above normal precipitation for the entire state, except for the southeast and southwest corners of the state, where there is an equal chance of above, below or normal precipitation.

Several fires are still considered to be active in Wyoming. However, their activity is now minimal, and the recent precipitation, both snow and rain, has been a great help.

Ag considerations

As mentioned before, the seasonal forecast for November through January shows a 40 percent probability that much of the state could receive above normal precipitation. This information could help you assess available feed when making decisions about when to cull cows.

Should you sell them now, when prices tend to be low, or carry them over to a later date, when prices might be higher? Keep in mind that Wyoming receives most of its snow later in the winter. If winter precipitation is above normal, will you have enough feed to get those culls through the winter, and will they be in acceptable shape? Or will you spend so much on extra feed that it completely offsets the higher cull price you receive?

This article was written by UW Extension and  USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub Regional Extension Program Coordinator Windy Kelley and reviewed by Wyoming Water Resources Data System Deputy Director Tony Bergantino and Justin Derner of USDA Agricultural Research Service.