SHERIDAN — Towns across Sheridan County received snowfall mostly above historical averages during the 2018 calendar year, due in part to the recent storm at the end of December.
According to data from the National Weather Service Billings Weather Forecast Office, Sheridan received six inches of snow over the past weekend, bringing the yearly total to 75.1 inches, slightly above previous yearly averages.
Joe Lester, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Billings, said the Sheridan area averaged about 70 inches of snow from 1981 to 2000. Exact data from 2001-17 was not available.
When large storms occur, local employees get to work clearing the roads. In the town of Sheridan, The Wyoming Department of Transportation clears the interstate and part of North Main Street. The city streets division handles all other roads.
City of Sheridan director of public works Lane Thompson said the city plows roads even during small storms because of the prevalence of hilly streets around town.
If significant snowfall occurs, like earlier this week, the city picks up the snow and dumps it in several designated areas around town and on land that private individuals have allowed the city to use. Thompson said the city owns three snow plow/sander combination vehicles, two hauling trucks and two motor graders.
In Sheridan, plowing usually begins around midnight and starts with main thoroughfares.
“We do the bulk of it when everyone’s asleep,” Thompson said.
However, the more snow, the longer the process takes. That was the case with the storm earlier this week, when Thompson said plows were still clearing Coffeen Avenue around 10 a.m.
Apart from the recent storm, the 2018-19 winter has been pretty light on snow so far. With less snow over the past few months, Thompson said streets division employees have done more street repair and maintenance.
Dayton and Story
Dayton received 104.4 inches of snow from Jan. 2018 to Dec. 2018, up from 99 inches the previous year.
Lester said late winter and early spring of 2018 were particularly snowy in Sheridan County. Indeed, Dayton received the vast majority of its snow — 86.7 inches — from January to April. The town accumulated 36.5 inches of snow in February 2018, the snowiest February this century and third-snowiest month in the past 20 years.
In Dayton, maintenance employees measure the snow around 3:30 a.m. and if there are three inches or more, they begin plowing roads and then clear the sidewalks. The Wyoming Department of Transportation helps clear Main Street in Dayton, but the town takes care of all other areas.
Dayton has only plowed twice this winter: during the recent snowfall and more than two months ago, when the town received seven inches on Oct. 12.
Story received 147.9 inches of snow in 2018. That is a little above the average of 138.4 inches from 1981 to 2010.
The 2018-19 winter has only received mild snowfall so far, but if last year serves as an indicator, more precipitation is likely on the way over the next few months.