From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 8, Number 40 - December 25, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

It’s looking a lot like Christmas
With more snow on the way…
by Joy Ufford

The snowstorm passing through last weekend dumped the first real snowfall of the season around the county – in some parts plugging roads, in others dusting the sagebrush.

Winter has arrived, according to the calendar and Mother Nature.

And there’s more on the way – as much as another foot Christmas Day. If that’s not enough, a second storm system is anticipated after Christmas to run through the weekend.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a special weather statement Tuesday warning everyone to expect a pretty snowblown holiday weekend.

“This snowstorm has the potential to produce one to two feet of snow in the western mountains with the heaviest amounts occurring on southwest-facing slopes,” the report predicts. “Six to 12 inches are possible … between Pinedale and Bondurant. The snow is expected to develop Christmas Eve and intensify overnight continuing through Christmas Day. Strong southwest winds are also expected to cause considerable blowing and drifting snow with this storm.”

Good news for those who can’t live without a white Christmas. Great news for those who live to ski and snowmachine every hill and slope. Bad news for those who work outside every day and struggle through deepening snow drifts.

NWS storm and snowfall reports show last weekend’s flurries dumped a varying amount of white stuff, with proximity to the Winds bringing the highest: Big Sandy Opening and Kendall Ranger Station spotted 16.5 to 17 inches. Loomis Park and Elkhart Park reported 15 inches while Bondurant, East Rim Divide and Triple Peak received 12 to 15 inches. Hoback Canyon saw 12 inches of the white stuff ; Daniel had a skiff at one inch. Gunsight Pass, Snider Basin and New Fork Lake had 10.5 inches of snowfall in the two days. Pinedale received five inches, White Pine Base four inches and Boulder, three inches with up to 16 falling closer to the Winds.

The NWS’ “hazardous weather outlook” for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day predicts a major Pacific-system snowstorm across western Wyoming with additional snow, colder temps and lots of wind.

Tuesday, a NWS warning map was centered on the Upper Green River Basin foothills where the total snowfall is running at 87 percent of average.

“This system has the potential to bring significant snowfall across Western Wyoming through Thursday evening,” states the forecast. “Early indications point toward a foot or more of snow in the western mountains with six inches or more in most of the western valleys along with strong and gusty southwest wind.”

More specifically, local forecasts (subject to change) indicate the north county in general will have a 70-percent chance of receiving two to four inches of snow on Christmas Day with highs around 20 and south winds around 15 miles per hour in the afternoon. Christmas night, snow is again likely with light accumulations and lows from 0 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Friday, NWS expects a mostly cloudy day with a 20-percent chance of snow and highs of 13 to 16 degrees F. Friday night will be mostly cloudy with a 40-percent chance of snow, lows hovering just around 0 F. Saturday brings a 40-percent chance of snow, highs in the lower 20s F and lows 5 to 9 degrees F. Sunday and Monday, snow is again likely with highs in the 20s F and lows around 9 to 13 degrees F.

Farther south around Big Piney, LaBarge and Farson, Christmas Day will likely one bring to two inches and temps in the low 20s F with south winds increasing wind chill. There is also a higher chance of snow after midnight with Friday looking at a 20-percent chance of snow. Things will warm up Saturday – highs to the mid to upper 20s F and lows 3 to 7 degrees F. Sunday and Monday will be mostly cloudy with highs near 30 F and lows of 10 to 15 F.

Hoback Canyon as well as Hoback Basin will receive most of its winter weather from the Gros Ventres and Jackson Hole to Bondurant. For Christmas Day, there’s a 90-percent chance of snow with three to five inches, highs of 19 to 23 F and lows of 7 to 10 F. Snow is 70-percent likely in the evening and again after midnight into Friday with light accumulations, which is predicted to be mostly cloudy with a 30-percent chance of snow. Highs will be 14 to 18 F, lows 5 to 8 F.

Saturday, snow is likely in the Hoback Basin with a 50-percent chance or more leading to the same Sunday with highs near 30 F and decreasing that night with lows of 13 to 17 F. Monday, there’s a higher chance of snowfall with highs predicted in the mid-20s to lower 30s F.

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