well, the wind quit. we went from gusts of 60 to 70 miles per hour yesterday, to 8 mph this morning, although tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night there's a 90 percent chance of snow. that's good, though, we need the spring moisture. the state's sitting at about 70 percent of average.
wyoming has the unique topographic circumstance of being the 'top of the watershed,' meaning that with our elevation there are no streams or rivers flowing into the state - everything flows out. that means we rely heavily on snowfall throughout the winter and spring, which builds up the snowpack in the mountains. the snowpack serves as a frozen reservoir, of sorts, holding that water up high until it melts out in late spring, filling reservoirs and irrigating farm and meadow lands.
about this time of year is when wyoming gets a lot of snow - its infamous spring storms. and it's a wet, heavy snow with a lot of moisture content. the hydrologists that track snowpack in the mountains measure the snowpack weekly according to snow water equivalent (swe) to give an indication of how much water is held in the high country.
the map released by the natural resources conservation service (nrcs) divides wyoming into watersheds - the basins created by mountain ranges. the one white area with no data isn't reported because that's the great divide basin in the red desert area, which is isolated and not counted because no water flows from it. most of the basins in wyoming are named for the major rivers that flow from them.
although snowpack is currently at 70 percent of average, i think bureau of reclamation wyoming office director john lawson is ok with that. when i visited with him last spring - which was extremely wet - he said another spring like 2009's and he'd have problems with too much water. the bureau of reclamation is the federal agency that owns and manages the large reservoir projects in the state.
so, it looks like we'll be in for some more cool weather and clouds in the next few days, but hopefully we'll get some moisture out of it and next week's monday morning snow report from the nrcs will show a few points of increase. i know puppy lucy won't mind if it snows again - she goes nuts for snow.