Local streamflows looking good for spring, but summer may be warm and dry

April was a good water month for the Wind River Basin.

The most recent Wyoming Basin & Water Supply Outlook Report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service says the Wind River Basin received 130 percent of its median precipitation in April.

For the entire water year, which began in October, precipitation levels in the Wind River Basin are around 100 percent of median, the report states.

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Streamflows

The wet weather has improved the local streamflow forecast, which is just below median in the Wind River Basin, at 98 percent.

h/t NRCS

Reservoir storage is looking good, too, at close to 110 percent of median, or 74 percent capacity – up from 68 percent capacity last year, the report says.

h/t NRCS

Uncertain future

In the most recent Wyoming Water Supply Outlook, however, officials noted that mountain snowpack at 7,500-9,000 feet had melted out by late April and early May.

As a result, “it is quite possible that the eventual surface runoff from snowmelt will be much lower than expected,” the report states.

“There is still a good chance for an earlier-than-normal runoff with overall below-average stream flows,” NRCS hydrologist Jim Fahey said.

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His report included information from the U.S. Drought Monitor for Wyoming, which showed the higher elevations of the Wind River Basin experiencing severe drought, with moderate drought lower down and abnormally dry conditions to the east.

h/t NRCS

Looking further ahead, the forecast for precipitation shows below-normal moisture levels and above-normal temperatures for most of the Wind River Basin through August.  

h/t NRCS
h/t NRCS

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