Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

County under severe drought conditions


February 18, 2021

Despite the recent influx of snow, drought conditions have been worsening across Crook County over the last month. The U.S. Drought Monitor has now placed the entire county under severe drought conditions.

At the D2 level of the classification system, pasture conditions will be poor, overgrazing will be reported, hay is more scarce and dust increases. Trees and vegetation also become stressed, with well levels declining.

One month ago, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), the eastern side of the county was at level D0, abnormally dry, while the remaining two thirds of the county was at D1, moderate drought. By last week, however, the situation across the whole county had worsened to D2, the third level of the five-category system.

At the same time, a large stripe of extreme drought (D3) stretching down the center of Wyoming has continued to widen. One month ago, the edge of the extreme drought zone cut through Johnson County; by last week, it had reached Gillette.

Drought conditions are not uncommon in Wyoming. In fact, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the longest duration of drought in this state since monitoring began at the turn of the millennium lasted for 435 weeks, from February 2001 to June 2009.

At this time, NIDIS reports that the number of people in this county affected by drought has increased by 27% since last month and now sits at 100%. So far in 2021, Crook County has experienced the 15th driest year in the last 127 years.

The seasonal outlook created National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center suggests that drought conditions persist for at least the next three months.


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