Wyoming Drought Conditions haven’t been this severe since 2013

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

The rain in our area has been a welcome sight to many, especially those who earn their living from the land. The warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton and a Fremont County farmer helped break down the current conditions.

Wyoming is experiencing the worst drought in coverage and intensity since the 2012 and 2013 drought. However, in the Lander area in April, there were 2.44 inches of melted liquid precipitation and Riverton had 1.47 inches of liquid precipitation, both of which are above normal.

“That has helped just a little bit involving the drought situation, but still very similar drought numbers from the US Drought Monitor that we continue to brief people about, across the state,” stated Tim Troutman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Riverton.

The D-3 extreme drought status is currently in place for a small area of southeast Fremont, southern Natrona, and into Carbon County. “It’s really going to take at least two pretty good size storm systems moving through the area between now and June that could drop at least an inch or two of precipitation across the area, that could really make some progress involving lessening the drought conditions,” Troutman added.

Farmer Aaron Sorensen shared that there is usually not much moisture near his farm in Fremont County, so he depends heavily on the snow pack from the Wind Rivers.

“It has made it so this last year we couldn’t irrigate in the fall because they shut the water off on the irrigation system a little bit earlier than normal, and we haven’t been able to start irrigating yet, and if you look at the ground, it’s pretty dry still,” noted Sorensen.

Sorensen says that even when Riverton gets rain, most often, his farm outside of Riverton doesn’t see any moisture, but that doesn’t stop him from looking up.

“If you’re a farmer, you’re always optimistic, so I’m optimistic that we’ll have enough water, and we plan on planting 500 acres of corn and 700 acres of dry beans,” Sorensen explained.

Troutman stated, “The 30 day outlook and even into the 60 to 90 day outlook calls for near normal precipitation and above normal temperatures, so we’ll have to see in that sense.”

80 percent of Wyoming is in at least a moderate to an extreme drought. The La Nina weather pattern may be partly to blame, which occurs about every five years.

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