Record-Setting Death Valley Heat Wave On The Way To Wyoming

A heat wave that saw Death Valley hit a record high of 128 degrees Sunday is coming to Wyoming. While the heat won’t be that extreme here, some spots in eastern Wyoming could have a record-setting string of highs in triple digits.

Greg Johnson

July 08, 20245 min read

Sawyer Waterscaping heat danger 7 8 24
(Getty Images)

A Western U.S. heat wave that’s setting records in Death Valley and Las Vegas is on its way to Wyoming.

While Wyoming won’t get the insane temperature readings of those areas, like the record 128 degrees recorded in Death Valley on Sunday, it’s going to be hot, said Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day.

“This is certainly going to be the hottest spell of the summer so far,” he said about the sustained heat expected starting Thursday and running through the weekend. “It’s the same heat that’s been in Las Vegas and Death Valley, California, and making a lot of headlines there.

“That’s what’s going to move over into our area.”

What that means is even some of the state’s more mild, higher-elevation spots like Laramie and Lander will still see temperatures in the 90s over the weekend, and many spots in eastern Wyoming could have a record-setting string of highs in triple digits, he said.

“It’s certainly going to get hot and many areas will hit triple digits,” Day said. “In the Bighorn Basin around Greybull, Lovell, Worland — that’s where you’re going to get the hottest temperatures. Also, the northeast corner of the state.”

Work Goes On

For seasonal businesses that make their living working outdoors, the expected heat is definitely on the radar, said Gregg Sawyer of Cheyenne-based Sawyer Waterscaping.

He was out with a crew unloading large boulders, smaller rock and other plants and materials for a waterscaping project in a residential area Monday morning.

Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean the work can stop, he said.

“A lot of times we try to start earlier on days like that, and drink a lot of water,” he said. “Here, it’s supposed to be in the 90s, so that’s not too bad.”

But the outrageous temperatures in California and Nevada now would be too dangerous to try and work through, Sawyer said.

“Yeah, that’s just crazy,” he said.

It’s the same for city and county parks crews that work in the summer heat.

“We have a lot of seasonal workers and we try to keep a pretty good eye on them,” said Janie Kuntz, parks manager for the city of Gillette.

Like Sawyer, the parks maintenance crews will adjust to the heat, Kuntz said.

“We do adjust our schedule to avoid the hottest part of the day, obviously,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “We encourage them to take plenty of breaks and to hydrate.”

They also will prioritize some of the more labor-intensive work for earlier when it’s cooler, and do indoor maintenance and other tasks during the hottest hours of the afternoon, she said.

The Parks Department also provides workers with electrolyte packets to put into their water.

“I think that stuff is pretty good for you if you’re sweating and hot,” she said. “Unfortunately, we have to work out in the heat — or the cold. When it’s hot outside, (the wind) can make it like a heater’s blowing on you.”

But It’s A Dry Heat

While the temperatures the four-day heat wave is expected to bring could flirt with or break some records, Day said that’s not unexpected for this time of year.

“This is the time of year when you start expecting some heat waves,” he said, adding that there usually are about four weeks of that.

“There could be some records tied or broken in some areas from where we are now through about the 10th of August,” Day said. “This is usually the hottest time in the state.

“All you have to do is look at the heat in Las Vegas and Death Valley, and that’s the air mass that’s coming in.”

What helps when the heat pushes or break into triple digits is the typical cooling off at night, Day said. That’s because of Wyoming’s dry air.

“The drier the air, the quicker it can get hot, but also the quicker it cools off at night,” he said. “There can be a 40-degree difference between the high and low. It could be 99 in the day, and in the 50s at night.”

How Hot Will It Get?

While temperatures won’t hit triple-digits everywhere around Wyoming, they will be higher than normal, Day said.

The National Weather Service’s extended forecast for areas around the Cowboy State show highs in the 90s in Cody and Lander, while the eastern plains can expect a string of 100-degree days.

• Afton: Thursday, high near 90, low about 55; Friday 91 and 56; Saturday 90 and 56; Sunday high near 88.

• Cheyenne: Thursday 92 and 58; Friday 96 and 59; Saturday 95 and 60; Sunday high near 94.

• Chugwater: Thursday 94 and 62; Friday 98 and 63; Saturday 97 and 66; Sunday high near 97.

• Cody: Thursday 94 and 63; Friday 93 and 63; Saturday 92 and 64; Sunday high near 89.

• Douglas: Thursday 100 and 58; Friday 102 and 58; Saturday 102 and 59; Sunday high near 101.

• Gillette: Thursday 97 and 64; Friday 97 and 65; Saturday 98 and 66; Sunday high near 97.

• Lander: Thursday 91 and 62; Friday 91 and 63; Saturday 91 and 65; Sunday high near 90.

• Lingle: Thursday 100 and 61; Friday 103 and 63; Saturday 103 and 64; Sunday high near 102.

• Lusk: Thursday 96 and 61; Friday 99 and 63; Saturday 99 and 65; Sunday high near 98.

• Moorcroft: Thursday 98 and 62; Friday 99 and 62; Saturday 101 and 64; Sunday high near 99.

• Rawlins: Thursday 95 and 58; Friday 95 and 60; Saturday 96 and 63; Sunday high near 94.

• Torrington: Thursday 99 and 58; Friday 102 and 60; Saturday 102 and 62; Sunday high near 101.

• Wheatland: Thursday 99 and 62; Friday 101 and 65; Saturday 101 and 66; Sunday high near 100.

Greg Johnson can be reached at

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Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.