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Dec 11, 2012 - The Associated Press

Flu seasons gain strength

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's early flu season is getting more intense. State health officials recorded more than three times more flu cases by Dec. 1 than usual.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the state recorded 342 cases of influenza by Dec. 1. Wyoming usually reports less than 100 cases so far by this time.

Wyoming's first flu cases were reported in October. This flu season has come early all over the nation, with 48 states confirming cases by the end of November.

The Wyoming Department of Health says that flu cases in Wyoming typically increase around the end of December or early January. Health officials say most everyone should get flu shots, especially those at high risk of developing complications from the flu.

Snowpack down slightly statewide

Total snowfall in Wyoming this season is slightly below average -- but the real snow picture depends where you are.

Snowfall statewide is 93 percent of the historical median. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says that the actual snow picture depends on the region within Wyoming.

The northwestern part of Wyoming is on track for a normal, snowy winter. But the NRCS says the southeastern part of Wyoming is severely lacking snowfall

The Snake River drainage basin in northeastern Wyoming is 121 percent of the 1981-2010 median and the Belle Fourche drainage basin in the Black Hills is 36 percent. The Wind River drainage stands at 100 percent.

Snowmobile trail ranked high

The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail in northwest Wyoming is ranked No. 3 in the West by snowmobilers.

The Wind River Visitors Council says the trail has been ranked in the top three for many years by readers of SnoWest magazine.

The ranking is published in the magazine's annual "Western Guide to Snowmobiling 2012," which ranks scenery, grooming, signage, map, off-trail, snow quality, crowds, terrain, services and weather.

Four Wyoming trails were ranked in the top 8 spots by snowmobile enthusiasts again this year.

The Wyoming Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail is one of the West's largest and longest trail systems.

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