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Wyoming is the 5th driest state in the Union, and drought is a constant threat in our region. Since 1999, much of Wyoming has been gripped by moderate to severe drought. The intensity of this drought event has varied from year to year, and counties or regions within the state have experienced varying levels of drought impacts. However, this drought has been a significant event by any measure, and we will continue to feel its effects for years to come. Conditions have eased somewhat in mid-2008, but a near decade with warm temperatures and relatively little precipitation has left us very vulnerable.
State Climate Office Climate Monitoring Products
The Water Resources Data System and the State Climate Office are involved in a variety of drought-related efforts. Examples include:
- Strong participation in the State Water Plan process
- Past participation in the Governorís Drought Task Force, and ongoing participation in the Governorís Climate Issues Committee
- Development of drought summaries and drought-related outreach products for Wyoming
- Support for research on the causes and consequences of drought
Climate-related mapping is a key function of WRDS and the SCO. In the example below, we are using GIS-based mapping approaches to highlight the annual departures from normal (1971-2000) for 2006 and 2007. Red areas indicate the driest regions in the state and blue designates regions that have received more precipitation (data provided by PRISM Group, Oregon State University).