Emergency Management Watching Forecast

Written by on February 21, 2017

CCEM Release – The National Weather Service has been watching the storm systems coming in from the Pacific Coast for the past week, projecting the one that is blowing into our region today with the strong winds of last night, and up to 60+ gusts today, would pull in cold temperatures and moisture and wrap around a low pressure system…and give someone a potential major winter storm.

Last week the computer models were all over the place, putting the bullseye over Us, or over Cheyenne, or over North Platte, or over Rapid City, etc…but as hard data has become available…they're now looking for it to target the area roughly Douglas to Wheatland on south into the southern Wyoming mountains…and we'll just get some of it.

The forecast now is calling for snow to start tomorrow night around midnight, and be heaviest on Thursday…tapering off by daybreak Friday. Storm totals of 1-2 inches in northern Campbell County, 3-4 in central Campbell County, and 4-6 in the Wright area…and only getting worse from Wright southwards…as much as 8-12 inches in Douglas. I suspect the mines south of Wright will be looking at upwards of 8 inches, and the only way to approach them will be from the north as south of them will likely be closed at times by this storm.

After our strong winds of today, look for west winds in mid teens, gusting to 20 mph through the day tomorrow, changing to coming from the northwest mid-day, then letting up to the single digit speeds out of the North after dark Wednesday before picking up again on Thursday and hitting the mid-teens during the day, gusting to 22.

All of that will combine on Thursday with the heavier snow out of the storm expected to hit our area mid-day Thursday into the nighttime hours…then letting up by Friday morning. Gusts to 22 on Thursday will cause some drifting…but it really takes 30 mph or stronger to create "total whiteout/start to shut things down if it's heavy snow" conditions…so look for a strong taste of winter, but not likely to cause us the problems it will south of Wright.

Additionally, because things have been so warm lately, look for the first falling snow to melt, then ice everything up…so very slick conditions will occur in that transition period until enough snow depth builds up to give traction again.

David King
Campbell County EMA
500 South Gillette Avenue
Suite 1100
Gillette, WY 82716
(307) 686-7477

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