Story By: Spencer Porden
RIVERTON, WY— The National Weather Service in Riverton released the latest “Spring Snowmelt Flood Potential Outlook” for Wyoming on Monday. According to NOAA hydrologist Jim Fahey, the flood potential for the Bighorn Mountains in both Sheridan and Johnson County is low.
In his release, Fahey said “The outlook is based on various diverse hydrological factors such as snow water equivalents (SWEs) in the mountain snowpack, basin morphology (how basins respond to snowmelt runoff), antecedent soil moisture, biological/physical factors (bark beetle kill/spruce blight/fire burn scars), low elevation snow depths, and likely temperature and precipitation trends during late spring/early summer.”
In most areas in the Bighorns, the SWE was either normal or slightly above normal at the time of the outlook.
Even so, the National Weather Service (NWS) is still warning of potential flooding for Sheridan County this week. According to a Hydrologic Outlook from the NWS:
“Warmer temperatures into next week will increase snow melt over the lower elevations. With the ground frozen across the area, this melt water will not be able to soak in and will run off. Water flowing overland and accumulating in low lying areas may result in low land flooding, water on roadways, and basement flooding.
Water flowing into creeks and streams will increase the potential for ice jam formation and flooding. Muddy roads may strand vehicles and impede or cut off travel in some rural areas. Now is the time to move equipment and livestock out of low lying areas and away from waterways.
Move heavy accumulations of snow away from home foundations, and take steps to prevent water from making it into basements. Impacts will depend upon how fast the snow melts. Stay tuned to the forecast for the latest details on temperatures and additional precipitation that may impact the rate of snow melt.
Please report any flooding or ice jam development to local law enforcement and ask them to pass the report on to the National Weather Service.”
The next Flood Potential Outlook will be released on April 20th. You can view the outlook map below: