Northern Niobrara County is typically a semi-arid region, and while flash floods are somewhat common during the summer months, winters are usually relatively dry. Not so this year. Flooding and ice build up were a constant problem in January and February, and continue to make travel, feeding and calving difficult in the area.

Winter flooding in Niobrara County on the Greasewood Road. The unusual flooding caused problems for ranchers feeding and caring for livestock.
Unusual winter flooding in Niobrara County caused problems for ranchers feeding and caring for livestock.

The Greasewood Road was covered with flooding waters, when typically this time of year there is no running water in this location. We’ve (TRH Ranch) already lost one calf, that we’re aware of, to the cow slipping on the ice. Water is running freely across pastures, and freezes most nights, causing a real concern over the resulting ice. Cattle are not built for figure skating.

Niobrara County flooding has caused winter woes for ranchers trying to feed and care for livestock.
The Greasewood Road in Northern Niobrara County flooded this winter.

Roads across the county look like this, and are iced over and impassable in some cases. Others are muddy, or washed out. Warning signs have been placed at some road junctions to alert people of the conditions.

Winter flooding caused damage to roads and trouble for ranchers and livestock this winter in Niobrara County, Wyoming
Wyoming's average precipitation is less than 13" per year, so none of us are well equipped to deal with excess water, especially in the winter.

Normally, Lance Creek is a mere trickle this time of year. But look at it run! Looks like water gap repairs will garner attention earlier than usual in this part of the state.

Excess water is causing problems for ranchers and livestock in Niobrara County Wyoming this winter
Lance Creek filled to the brim. A very unusual sight for a Niobrara County winter.

Producers are still out feeding, calving and caring for livestock, it’s just taking longer these days. One perk is they don’t have to worry about checking water, as there is an abundant supply everywhere.

Niobrara County flooding has caused problems for ranchers and other residents not used to the unusual amounts of water.

From RealRancher Heather HamiltonLance Creek, Wyo.

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