Governor Mead and the National Weather Service have proclaimed May 9 through 13 as Wyoming Flood Awareness Week. The awareness week is intended to promote flood safety and preparedness, understanding of the different flood hazards that can impact Wyoming, and improved monitoring of hydrologic conditions.
The transition to warmer temperatures in May often signals the majority of mountain snowmelt. Even during years of average or below normal snowpack, a quick warm-up can rapidly melt snow and lead to flooding of mountain streams and tributaries. Flooding from snowmelt is becoming more accurately forecast, providing officials more lead time to prepare for rises along these waterways.
|Flooding in Hudson - June 2010||Mortimore Lane Bridge Collapse - June 2010||Flooding North of Lander - June 2010|
Rapid snowmelt last June was the main contributing factor of flooding in the Wind River Basin. An unseasonably cool and wet May was followed by an abrupt warm-up causing rapid snowmelt in the southern Wind River Range. Area rivers were quickly overwhelmed resulting in flooding in Lander, Hudson, and Arapahoe. Mountain snowpack across Wyoming is above normal this year which increases the chance for flooding again this spring. NWS officials are urging residents of cities and towns near rivers to monitor our homepage for details on potential flooding this year.
Snowmap from The University of Wyoming Illustrating Snowpack as a percentage of normal
“The flooding in Fremont County last year was a good example of how several seemingly innocuous conditions can come together to create devastating floods,” said Kelly Allen, Meteorologist at the Riverton NWS office. “During this week we want to stress the importance of why the public should stay informed about changing conditions. Residents near rivers and streams should monitor the NWS web site or All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio for the most current information and they are strongly urged to develop a flood action plan.”
This week, NWS and emergency officials are reminding people to never swim, play, or walk through flooded areas and to avoid camping near streams or dry washes if there is a threat of flooding. Officials say that even if rain did not fall at your location, headwaters in the mountains may have received heavy rain which could cause rapid water rises downstream. Campers and hikers should consider taking along an All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio receiver, which provides easy access to current forecasts and alert information for weather and man-made disasters.
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