Warmer weather hits Wyoming this winter

Erin Mullins

The winter months of December through April are expected to be slightly warmer than average for the Big Horn Basin.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Lance VandenBoogart said that it will be warmer due to a global pattern that influences the jetstream and overall weather of the season. The national Climate Prediction Center is the official entity that issues these season wide predictions, VandenBoogart said.
“And as far as precipitation goes, there’s equal chances for above or below. So, what that means is that your 30 year averages for precipitation and snowmelt, those are going to be your best forecast for the winter season,” he said.
The area near Yellowstone is predicted to have a drier than normal winter compared to the Lovell area, VandenBoogart said. When it comes to what the weather will look like day to day, that cannot be forecasted as far out.
For big weather events, weather details are only accurate for about the next week, he said. There is not a winter storm warning predicted for the next week for the Lovell area. At least once or twice a season, there is typically a big winter storm, he said.
People should regularly pay attention to winter storm warnings involving high wind and large amounts of snow, especially when traveling, VandenBoogart said. Forecasts update regularly, every six to 12 hours, based on new data gathered closer to each weather event by the supercomputers that model the atmosphere.
“Don’t get too stuck on one forecast, would be another way of thinking about it,” he said.
Oftentimes, drivers forget to have a winter safety kit in their vehicle, even when they are prepared in their homes, VandenBoogart said. It is important to have a safety kit in case of an emergency, he said. This kit should include items like a small shovel, sand that can be used for traction, water bottles and lights.
Although many are anxious to plan their travels for the holiday season, VandenBoogart said he cannot accurately predict a weather event or hazardous storm farther than 10 days out. Besides carrying a car safety kit, those who leave their home for the holidays should make sure to keep their thermostat at 60 degrees or above so pipes don’t freeze.