A skier approaches the top of a frosty powder slope above Wilson on Teton Pass on Dec. 27, 2020. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)

The water content of the snowpack across Wyoming increased in the last week of December but remains below normal at 75% of average. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reported the figure for the week ending Dec. 28 from remote sensors located around the state. The figure represents the average of readings from SNOTEL sites weighted for the size of various drainage basins.

Last week the statewide weighted average was 71%. A year ago, it was 65% on the same December week.

Snowpack in individual drainages ranges from 111% of the median in the Yellowstone River drainage in Yellowstone National Park to 10% of the median in the South Platte River drainage.

The central part of Wyoming largely remains in the 70% to 89% range. The Lower North Platte River basin registered 47% of median, the only basin other than the South Platte where the snowpack is less than 50% of the median.

The Sweetwater, Belle Fourche and Cheyenne river drainages hover in the 50% to 69% range. The Snake, Shoshone and Tongue river drainages range between 90% and 103%.

The NRCS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bases its median on data collected between 1981 and 2010.

About that powder stash; Last year by Dec. 30 snow rangers measured the snow depth at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at 53 inches. This year on the same date it measured 56 inches.

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Season-long snowfall at the resort — the depth of new snow measured each 24 hours and then added up — amounted to 188 inches through Dec. 30 this winter, a bit more than the 151 inches during the same period in 2019.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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