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Rare 2012 snow covers county
Karl Anderson used his snowblower Tuesday on North 2nd West in Riverton. The longtime Riverton resident said it's the first time he's had to use the machine all winter. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Rare 2012 snow covers county

Feb 28, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Residents of the Wind River Basin woke up Tuesday to a blanket of fresh snow on the ground -- a scene that has been rare during a mild winter.

The snow was among the heaviest of the season in much of Fremont County.

The National Weather Service reported the snowfall to be the result of a fast moving, low-pressure circulation storm system that hit southern and western areas of the state Monday night before extending north and east early Tuesday.

A winter weather advisory was in effect for all of central Wyoming and other parts of the state until noon Tuesday.

"It's pretty much tapering off in southwest Wyoming around Rock Springs," Reid Wolcott, a meteorologist in the Riverton NWS office, said Tuesday. "Here in the Lander and Riverton and Wind River Basin area, it started tapering off around noon."

A trace of snowfall was reported Monday in Riverton, with the bulk of the snow following Tuesday morning. Lander didn't start to see snow until Tuesday.

Because the weather system is moving from the southwest to the northeast, Reid said the Riverton and Shoshoni areas in the basin were hit the hardest.

"Lander is one of the lowest spots, with about 2 inches, 2 and 1/2 inches," he said.

As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the NWS reported the following snowfall totals: 6 inches at Pavillion, 5 inches each in Jeffrey City, South Pass and Shoshoni, 4 to 4.6 inches outside of Lander, 4 inches each in Riverton, Red Canyon near Lander and Hudson, 2.5 inches near Kinnear, and 1.9 to 2 inches in Lander proper.

There was 3 inches reported at Riverton Regional Airport and 2.5 inches at Hunt Field airport in Lander.

Dubois saw the least snow as of Tuesday morning, with a half-inch reporte. Boysen Dam was at 1 inch.

In the Wind River range, new snow accumulation included 2 inches each at Deer Park, Townsend Creek and Hobbs Park.

The snow is helpful for the basin's snowpack, which as of Monday, sat at 88 percent of normal.

Travelers

The storm was a factor in at least one early-morning vehicle crash in Fremont County.

Lander Rural Fire Department Capt. Dalton Sanders said his agency responded to a one-vehicle wreck at 4:06 a.m. Tuesday between Lander and Milford on Highway 287.

"It was a pretty minor accident. The car was nose down in the ditch," Sanders said. "I can say it was before the plows had been out. It was pretty slick."

The winter weather is expected to affect motorists traveling on highways 287, 789, 26 and 20 because of snow packed and icy roads with poor visibility.

According to the NWS, there will be north to northeast winds of 10 to 20 mph that are expected in eastern Fremont County and east of Riverton that will cause drifting snow.

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