Chilly Fourth Of July Sets Records, Cools Off Celebrations Across Wyoming

Cold front leads to record low high temperatures on the Fourth of July, but does nothing to cool the patriotism of Fourth of July revelers across Wyoming.

John Thompson

July 05, 20233 min read

Nothing was going to dampen Lander's Fourth of July celebration, not even cooler than normal temperatures and intermittent rain.
Nothing was going to dampen Lander's Fourth of July celebration, not even cooler than normal temperatures and intermittent rain. (Pete Springer via Facebook)

A cold front that swooped down out of Canada late Monday brought winds that knocked down trees and snapped power poles across northwest Wyoming and made for a chilly Fourth of July across much of the state.

Joshua Rowe, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Riverton, said the front didn't cause any record low temperatures, but it did set several records for lowest high temperatures for the Fourth of July.

Rowe said the high temperature at the Lander Airport only reached 58 on Tuesday, a new record.

Party On

Lander City Assistant Mayor RaJean Strube Fossen said the cold temperatures didn't seem to slow down Fourth of July revelers. She said Lander residents are fond of their fireworks and, despite the weather, they started early and quit late.

"Lander still showed up in full force," she said. "It was a great night."

The same was true in Laramie, where thousands of people are drawn to Washington Park for the city’s Freedom Has A Birthday celebration.

While cooler than normal, the rain and wind held off until after the six-hour part ended at 4 p.m., said Assistant City Manager Todd Feezer.

“Absolutely, we were watching the weather and what the cloud cover looked like,” he said. “But for Freedom Has A Birthday, it was a little cool in the morning and we had that one rainstorm come through, but it cleared up and was gorgeous from 1-4.”

Lander, population 7,500, held its annual fireworks show from 10 p.m. to midnight after the town’s Fourth of July rodeo. The local Rotary Club held it's annual bison barbecue, serving 1,500 meals, Strube Fossen said.

At the Riverton Airport the mercury only climbed to 61, also a new record low high temperature for July 4.

Riverton Mayor Tim Hancock said there are only two days a year when fireworks are allowed inside city limits, New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July.

"I noticed a there were a lot of people out and a lot of fireworks were going off," he said. "Luckily, it was wet and we didn't have any fire calls.

37 In Afton

On Wednesday morning, the temperature got down to 37 in Afton, the coldest in Wyoming. Jackson got down to 40, Rowe said. That's chilly for July, but neither Afton nor Jackson set any new record lows.

High temperatures are supposed to rebound to near normal levels (mid 70s) Wednesday, but another cold front is approaching.  

"We'll see a warm up today and then another cold front is expected to arrive tomorrow night," Rowe said, adding the forecast isn't calling for frost and there is no warning in place.

Snow on the Fourth of July is uncommon in Wyoming, but it can happen. On July 4, 1993, folks in Cody celebrated Independence Day with 3 inches of new snow, according to National Weather Service records.

Cowboy State Daily Meteorologist Don Day said he hears people complain about Wyoming weather all the time.

"People always complain about the weather. It's a national pastime,” he said. “This spring and early summer has been frustrating for many with all the rain and severe weather; however, if we weren't getting rain there would be complaints about the dryness."

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John Thompson

Features Reporter