- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The National Weather Service’s final spring flood forecast lists two areas in northwest Wyoming with a high potential for flooding this spring.

The South Fork of the Shoshone River southwest of Cody and the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park could see flooding from mountain snowmelt runoff, the agency said.

Areas with moderate to high potential for flooding are: various headwater streams, including the Middle Fork of the Powder River at Kaycee, Ten Sleep Creek at Ten Sleep and Nowood River at Manderson, in the central and southern Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming; the Wind River between Crowheart and Riverton in central Wyoming; the North Fork of the Shoshone River near Wapiti; the Encampment River near Riverside and Encampment and the North Platte at Saratoga in south-central Wyoming; various headwater streams along the Upper Green River Basin as well as the Green River near LaBarge in southwest Wyoming; and the Laramie River at Laramie in southeast Wyoming.

The state’s mountain snowpack is 152 percent of median this week. The snowpack increased thanks to a storm that dumped up to 3 feet of new snow in some mountains.

“We just had a lot of snow up in the mountains, and so rather than … melting a lot of the snowpack, the opposite happened: we accumulated more snowpack,” Dave Lipson, meteorologist with the Weather Service in Riverton, said Tuesday.

Generally, most of the snowpack along river basins east of the continental divide with south-facing aspects have melted out below 8,500 foot elevation, while basins west of the continental divide and basins with north-facing aspects have snow above the 7,000-foot level.

The mountain snowpack typically starts to melt in earnest later this month and continues into the summer.

Weather Service hydrologists say the severity of the flooding could worsen in places if heavy rain falls during peak spring runoff, which typically occurs in late May and into June.

But Lipson said the extended outlook for most of Wyoming into this summer calls for normal temperatures and precipitation.

Meantime, except for a small area mainly in Sweetwater County, the state is free of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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