From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 11 - 11/10/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

When Is Winter Coming?
Last month was one of the warmest, driest Octobers on record
by Rob Shaul

I woke up this morning and drove to work without a coat. The bright blue sky was cloudless, the sun was bright and warm, and there wasn't a skiff of snow on the ground. What's with this weather? Is winter ever coming?

Maybe not. According to data from the National Weather Service, October 1999 was one of the warmest and driest on record. For Pinedale, the 50-year average (1948-1998) daily high temperature in October is 56.1 degrees. The average high temperature for October 1999 was 59 degrees.

Big Piney was even hotter. The 50-year average daily high temperature for October in Big Piney is 57.5 degrees. October 1999's average daily high temperature was a staggering 69 degrees.

It's been hot and dry. Sublette County has received only a trace of moisture since the middle of September. Over the past 50 years, October has brought .78 inches of moisture and 2.5 inches of snow to Pinedale. Not this year. According to Daryle Bennett with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the amount of moisture we've received in the Upper Green River Basin since October 1, 1999 is "really, really low" - just 16% of average.

We called some folks who've been around the county for a while to get their thoughts on the fall we're having so far.

Lucy Neely can't remember ever seeing a fall with weather like this one. She notes that the last good rain Pinedale got was way back on September 17th. She still has to water pots at Neely's Nursery and some of her rose bushes still have green leaves. While Lucy's seen warm days in October, she's yet to see a whole month of warm days like this October. "I'd take the warmth if I could get the rain too," she concludes.

Cora's Mary Thompson remembers one warm fall that compares to this one - the fall of 1939-1940. Her brother was going to high school at Wasatch Academy, and the day he went back to school after Christmas vacation, it finally started snowing. It was January 1st. That winter is the only one she remembers that compares to this year's warm weather.

Bondurant's Eileen Dockham also remembers that mild fall of 1939-1940. "It was New Year's Eve and we still didn't have any snow," remembers Eileen. Eileen and some of her siblings grabbed their musical instruments and drove down to the old Farris place. They had heard that Irv Stone and Lois had gotten married and intended to "chivaree 'em." It turned out Irv hadn't gotten married and Eileen and her party ended up celebrating New Year's in Jackson that night. It was snowing for the first time that year the next morning when they drove back to Bondurant. "We almost didn't make it home," says Eileen.

"I can't remember one, not like this," says Cliff Brewer of this fall's weather. "Next July 4th, when we're fishing in a snowstorm, we'll wonder why it was so warm this fall."

Paradoxically, while October 1999 was above average for high temperatures in Sublette County, the average daily low temperature for both Pinedale and Big Piney was actually colder than the 50-year average. Perhaps an omen about winter when it does come?

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Copyright © 1999 The Sublette County Journal
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul