Heavy Snow Leads to Full Reservoirs and Potentially Active Severe Weather Season


Bassett says that while it's still early, he expects that there will not be any water restrictions in Cheyenne this summer because of the good water year we've had.

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - We've received almost two feet of snow above what we normally see this year and with March and April traditionally being snowy months for Cheyenne, we've already seen some minor flooding due to some snow melt this year, but what does this mean for the rest of the year? I checked in with Steve Rubin of the National Weather Service and Clint Bassett a water specialist with the Board of Public Utilities to find out more.

Clint Bassett says that, "Cheyenne is in very good shape right now as far as our water is concerned. We do have, our reservoirs are fairly full from last year and that's due in large part to the rain storms we received at the end of the year to help fill up our reservoirs just before winter."

Steve Rubin of the National Weather Service also said, "We were in a pretty extreme drought last year and the heavy rains we had during the fall, particularly in September helped to alleviate quite a bit of the drought status, including the winter precipitation we've had. So we're basically, most of the areas, are back to near normal or maybe just a mild drought."

According to the United States Drought Monitor, at this time last year all of Wyoming was "abnormally dry" and 84% of the state was in a severe drought. Now, one year later 27% of the state is abnormally dry and no part of the state is in a severe drought.

With all the moisture we've seen, we have escaped last year's drought, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. While the NWS isn't expecting any flooding in Laramie County, Rubin says that, "our main focus is gonna be down near Encampment and Riverside, along the Encampment river, down there, pretty much the Sierra Madres to the west and the Snowy Range, we're expecting moderate to high potential for flooding with the snow melt as the temperatures warm up."

While snow packs across the state range from 125%-175% above normal, the snow melt from these packs can cause flooding in some areas, it's very important to us in Cheyenne, "our water begins as snow melt up in the mountains, and then we capture that water as it comes down reservoirs and our streams into our reservoirs and that's where we store that water. That's the water we're gonna have for the next year, so having a strong snowpack is a solid indicator that we're going to have a good year for water in Cheyenne."

Rubin says that a wet winter like the one we've had this year, could lead to an active severe weather season in April, May, and June.


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