It’s meteorological whiplash.
After suffering through an inordinately long winter, Wyoming received a break from the cold temperatures Tuesday as extreme as the mountains of snow that still cover much of the state. The 80-degree high temperature recorded at Cheyenne Regional Airport was a record for April 11.
“The last time Cheyenne saw 80 degrees was Sept. 28,” said Jason Straub with the National Weather Service in Riverton.
On their Facebook page, forecasters from the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne on Tuesday morning noted that if the city hit a high of 80 degrees, it would break the previous record of 73 degrees, which was recorded in 1998 and 1982.
“Getting temperatures into the 80s is well above normal for this time of year,” said Straub. “Their normal high temperature for this date is 54.”
Tuesday also saw another record shattered. It was the earliest recorded 80 degree temperature of the year.
“The old record for Cheyenne, the first time they hit 80 degrees, was April 21,” said Straub. “And that happened in both 1960 and 1989.”
Tuesday’s warmth came just days after a monthslong cold snap ended that had held Wyoming in its grip since November.
Straub explained that the unseasonably cold stretch was lengthened by a late season snowstorm that brought cold air in from the north last week.
“Once that system had moved off to the east, we had strong ridging develop across the Rockies, and that has brought a whole area of warm weather pretty much across the state – from here in Riverton all the way down into southeast Wyoming,” he said.
Angela Mose, a forecaster in the NWS Cheyenne office, said a strong high-pressure system is extending through most of the atmosphere now.
“That’s what is giving us the increased temperatures this time,” she said, “and we're just getting this punch of warm air and getting all these warm temperatures.”
High Temps Across the State
It wasn’t just Cheyenne that experienced unseasonably warm temperatures. Straub said the mercury hit 70 in Riverton – the first time since Oct. 21 the city has been that warm.
“We did have some warm weather in the fall, but it's been since last fall,” he said.
Cheyenne residents basked in the unusually warm weather, as short-lived as it is.
“The warm temperatures will likely last only through tomorrow,” said Mose. “That kind of higher pressure is going to move off to our east, and tomorrow we’ll still be pretty warm – though I’m not sure if we'll see any more records being broken tomorrow.”