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Many Wyoming Towns Never Went Above Zero on Thursday

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Thinking it’s cold where you are?

Try being in Powell, Wyoming today. It’s high? -15 degrees.

Buffalo and Cody were right behind chalking up highs of -13 degrees while Gillette posted a high of -11.

Greybull, Cowley, Worland, and Casper at least were in the single digits below zero with highs of -7, -6, -5, and -4 respectively.

This is all part of a big Arctic front that is finally pushing a Pacific front out of the way.

The two fronts have been battling over the last week and now it looks like the Arctic blast will win out and in a big way.

That’s something that impresses meteorologists. Take Wyoming’s Don Day, for example. He’s been pretty bored over the couple months as Wyoming has been unseasonably warm and dry.

“This is a huge Arctic outbreak,” Day said. “You don’t normally see them with such extent like this east to west. So that is something that is quite impressive.”

“The thickness of the Arctic air vertically also is pretty impressive,” he said. “It gets very deep — thousands of feet deep.”

Be forewarned, Wyoming — especially eastern and central Wyoming — that dangerous wind chills are heading our way. Negative 40 is not out of the realm of possibility.

For the most comprehensive weather information, check out Don Day’s forecast on our YouTube channel.

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Don Day: Life-Threatening Cold Temperatures Ahead; Wind Chills 40 – 50 Below

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It’s really, really cold out there.

Cold enough for pants to stand upright by themselves? Yes, it’s that cold.

The frozen jeans you see pictured were placed in Ton Winter’s front yard in Wheatland.

Those pants won’t be thawing out any time soon with at least four days of sub-zero weather facing that community.

Places like Gillette, Wyoming are really getting it.  The high on Thursday will be 11 below zero. Sheridan and Sundance will top out at 9 below zero. While Casper will make it all the way up to 2 below.

To show you how crazy Wyoming weather is, the icebox of the nation — Big Piney, Wyoming — will hit a balmy high of 33 degrees on Thursday. Pinedale, normally another super chilly spot, will see a high of 28, while Bondurant will make it to an even freezing.

This is all because, if you’ve been listening to Wyoming weatherman Don Day, there’s been a battle going on between the Arctic Pacific fronts.

When the Pacific front moves in, it warms up. When the Arctic front pushes the Pacific front out, it cools down.

And there’s been a dividing line between the two fronts. Western Wyoming is warmer while central and eastern Wyoming are really cold.

That’s about to change. In Super Bowl terms, the Arctic front is Tom Brady and the Buccaneers and they are about to dominate the Pacific.

That means the entire state is going to see an Arctic blast — the likes of which we haven’t seen in over a year.

“We’re expecting a push of Arctic here to get deeper get, let’s say a mile thick as we get into the Friday through Sunday timeframe, and we’re gonna see most of the state go below zero,” Day told Cowboy State Daily.

“These are really dangerous conditions,” Day said. “It’s been a long week for livestock and it’s about to get a lot longer.”

Day said the weekend will be especially cold in Wyoming not only because of the temperatures but because of the winds.

“Wind chills at 30 – 40 degrees below zero — or even colder in northeastern Wyoming — will occur this weekend,” Day said.

“The temperatures may not be record-setting but they’re getting really, really close to being record temperatures,” he said.

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Don Day Weather Forecast: Monday, January 18, 2021

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The following is a rough transcript of Don Day’s Wyoming weather forecast for Monday, January 18, 2021.

Welcome to Monday, January 18 2021. Thanks for tuning into the day weather podcast. Well to start the week we’re going to have a system and to end the week we’re going to have a storm system. But in the middle, well not much going on. 

So it’s like a sandwich with no meat in the middle. We got bread on top today, bread on the bottom by the weekend, but very little meat in the middle. But the pattern is getting more active. 

Arctic air is still not able to move in yet. This is typical in a La Nina pattern for arctic air to have a hard time getting pushed south, even though there are a lot of large scale hemispheric suggestions that it will come in. 

But the model still doesn’t see it quite yet. Although it will be trending colder by the weekend. 

This is the strongest lining and going back to 2010 to 2012. So it’s something that is definitely dominated pattern. I know you’re probably tired of me talking about La Nina but to use a sports analogy, it’s flooding the zone.

It is completely dominating the pattern for the western United States and parts of the central US and the far west. It’s just completely taken over. 

And the pattern that we’ve seen so far this winter is definitely a classic La Nina, speaking of La Nina here are the sea surface temperatures. 

As we look, we see all the blue and the subtropical Pacific. Also notice the Northern Pacific is starting to get colder as well. And I’ll show you the sea surface changed since November. And some really interesting things are showing up. 

We’ve got this warm pocket down here. But that’s not going to really influence our weather. It’s all about this area really right here. And also what’s developing up here, that will continue to impact our weather here for the rest of the winter season. 

If you were to measure the heat content of the upper ocean, in the key area of the subtropical Pacific at that longitude, you can see that since April, that’s when things started to turn dry. 

Last April, May in June is when the western states started to dry out. And we saw that the sea surface temperatures which they normally do warm up a little bit right at the peak of summer. 

But look at the heat content of the subtropical Pacific since then, and it’s very, very low. So we’re putting very little heat into the atmosphere compared to normal, also less water vapor into the atmosphere because of the La Nina.

If you were to look at how sea surface temperatures have changed since November 13. Now notice there’s actually been a slight warm up in the subtropical Pacific since November. But they’re still as we just showed you in the map. They’re still colder than normal. 

But look at this. Look at the North Pacific and then along the California coast, the sea surface temperature since November have dived. And this is something that we saw in 2011 and 2012. 

That’s why we’re so concerned, getting more and more concerned about the dryness continuing this summer in the western United States, because this is exactly what happened with that strong La Nina about, about 10 – 11 years ago. 

And again, I’ll say this, again, these La Ninas that are bad tend to be at the bottoms of solar minimums, which is what we just got through. So again, there’s no surprise on what’s happening. 

Now let’s take a look at how the weather pattern evolves in the short term. This is where we are today. We’ve got this broad trough coming in right here. 

It’s not really well organized. But we did see some nice snow in the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado and parts of Montana, Idaho last night, and we’ll see some more up in the high country and a few snow showers in the plains. 

But look what happens with this broad area of low pressure. It splits with a piece headed to the northern plains and this piece dropping Southwest into southern California. 

This is again, something that happens a lot in La Nina seasons because the Jetstream winds are so strong. Then as we go further out, this is Wednesday, we end up with a low off the coast of Southern California. 

Now this is bad news for California. Now I know that we don’t have many podcast watchers in California right now, but you’ll probably be hearing about this on the news. 

So we’re giving you a heads up when you get a low that drifts off the California coast like this in winter, you tend to have a big surface gradient of high pressure in Utah and low pressure there so the air moves this way. 

This is a classic Santa Ana. So what will happen is all of a sudden you get really worried really fast about the fire danger in California. 

If somebody gets a fire started in the Santa Ana. Well, it’s bad news is you get these strong easterly winds. 

And you can see it Southern California poised to have 50 – 60 mile per hour wind gusts or more with the Santa Ana developing this week. 

Now as we get into the weekend, that low off the west coast gets pulled in. We have another trough coming on in and we see a general broad area of low pressure for this weekend, and that’s going to lead to better chances of snow and colder weather in the Intermountain West. 

Now whether or not it’s a big organized storm well put together we’ll just have to see and we’re also going to be seeing small weather disturbances coming off the Pacific, Thursday night and Friday, bringing the mountains some snow here and a few snow showers to the plains. 

So we’ll keep an eye on the weekend. The weekend could produce more in the way of snowfall and if we were to look through Saturday afternoon, you can see at least the computer modeling is showing an enhanced chance of snow coming back into the northern and central Rockies along with some colder temperatures for the weekend and into early next week. 

Thanks for listening to watching the day weather podcast. Have a great Monday. Talk to you tomorrow.

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Don Day Wyoming Weather Forecast: Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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This is the Don Day Wyoming weather forecast for Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Below is a rushed transcription of Don Day’s forecast. Excuse the errors.

How is the year going to end? And how’s the New Year gonna start? Well, really not bad. It’s gonna be windy and occasionally chilly. 

We’re gonna have some wind today, and into Thursday, we’ll have some wind again over the weekend. 

But really, there’s nothing terribly bad coming our way other than the wind and chilly temperatures, but at the same time, we still don’t have any bitter arctic air to come on in. 

We’re gonna have a few fast moving systems mainly impacting the mountains, we will see some wintry weather that is going to be heading into the central part of the United States this weekend. 

But in this part of the region, we really don’t have much going on. So it’s gonna be a nice New Year’s Day. It’ll be nice about New Year’s Day was that most of you won’t have much wind by our standards. And it will be a fair dry day. 

No major problems coming for travelers this weekend other than those windy areas. Now busy weather coast to coast. Starting next week, we’re going to spend some time today taking a look at the long range. 

So there’s not much going on in the short term, we’ll take a look at the long range weather, taking a peek into 2021. Here we are with today’s weather, we’ve got the low that came in and brought the snow it’s headed to the Midwest, we have a piece of that low that’s left here. 

There’s gonna be some problems here. We’ll share that minute there’s gonna be some problems here as well for travelers. But out here we’re looking at the weather improving, you’ll see this Well, this is a pretty impressive little low coming into the West Coast right here in the Pacific Northwest. 

But it’s gonna break into two a part of the storm ago here, the other part of the storm go here, it’s gonna split. And since it splits and you can see it splitting. Here’s what’s left of it. And here’s the other part of it. 

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This is by Thursday afternoon. So here we are today. And then look what happens to the pattern just today later that storm split so there’s really not much left. There will be some snow in the higher terrain here as it goes through but it’s a weakening low. 

We’ll keep it I guy on this guy later and this guy later on but what will happen is that this guy will head off to the east. And we’ll go to a more West East more mild flow this weekend. Snowfall wise This is through Saturday. 

I want to show you that through Saturday, you can see that the mountains will see a little bit of light snow, we just see most of the heavier snow staying up into the Pacific Northwest mountains. 

That’s because the storm splits but as the storm splits and we get a low down here, look what happens. We’ll show you here on a big map. Look at this. Holloway down into Mexico look at down into Texas, then into the Great Lakes and upper Midwest. 

This long swath of winter weather cuts across many interstates and roads and highways. It’s not a wide band of ice and snow. But it’s pretty impressive Big Bend country could be looking at a significant winter storm as we head into the new year. 

But for Colorado for Wyoming for Utah, the this this region here there’s just not much happening other than mountain snow showers and flurries. Now where is all the cold air. This is a map of the globe looking from space down to the north pole here. 

We’re looking at the globe. Now this is Sunday. If you want to know where the really cold air is, it’s in Europe here. 

And then we talked about this yesterday, and how we saw a lot of cold air in Siberia and into the Korean Peninsula up here across the North Atlantic. This is really the big cold air mass that we need to keep an eye on. 

This is generating very strong Jetstream winds across the North Pacific. We’ll show you that here in a minute. But you can see the lower 48 and a good part of Canada pretty mild. As we go into the new year with above average temperatures really coast to coast. 

But here’s that swath of wintry weather right here that’ll be taking place. Now as we go further out. I want to show you what happens 15 days out or two weeks from now. Notice that the cold in Siberia here and the warmth in the North America here in two weeks. 

Look what happens. Now this is a computer model. But we could definitely see the cold still up in Siberia. But there’s a release of that cold into the lower 48 states, two weeks out from now. And so it’s still on the table. 

It’s a long range model. So take it with a grain of salt. But if you’re wondering where the really really cold air is it’s locked up up there and right now, it has no way to come South but it could come south as we get into the first couple of weeks January. 

Now going forward. This is what the maps look like for Saturday. We have a little wave coming through here. Here’s that Midwestern storm we just showed you. 

That’s going to be moving out. More of a mild Pacific flow of air comes in this weekend. So temperatures will moderate a little bit. by Tuesday. 

We have a cold front coming through this will bring the mountain snow a few snow showers in the plains but Again, with the Jetstream. 

So fast across North America, you’re just not going to get any Arctic gear that can come south, at least into the starting next week. But look what happens when we go further out. This is by next Friday. 

Look what happens. We have a big low here, good low in southeast Colorado, another low approaching the California coast, see how they’re lined up. 

What’s happening is, is that and this is something that we’ll show you here in a little bit more in a minute. What happens in this pattern is you get a strong Jetstream that undercuts an area of high pressure. We talked about that blocking Ridge yesterday in the North Atlantic. 

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Well, it retrogrades to the west, and goes over in near the green south of Greenland Hudson Bay Area, as we get into mid to late next week. And what that does, is it takes the Jetstream and it pushes it further south. 

That’s good news for California to get more wet. But what you tend to have is basically a train of storms that go coast to coast. 

This is why we think mid late next week. And the week after that you’re going to hear more on the news about winter weather across the United States, because these specific storms instead of being directed up here will be directed more this way. 

So January, is looking pretty interesting coast to coast, in terms of the weather getting more stormy. Now we’re going to go back and we’re going to talk about Arctic constellations, again, all the way through January 14 was where that map I just showed you was around, notice the Arctic oscillation remains in a negative phase, which is a cold phase. 

Now I’m going to show you a new oscillation. It’s called the North Atlantic oscillation. We don’t normally show this to you because well, it’s the Atlantic, it’s far downstream from us. But in the winter, we do pay attention to it. 

Notice, the North Atlantic oscillation is also in a negative phase, all the way through the next two weeks through January 14. 

Now, what’s interesting historically, is when you take the North Atlantic oscillation, and you take the Arctic oscillation, and you put them together, if they are both in a negative phase, which they are, you tend to get patterns like this.

This is where you are, you get that colder air that is able to dive in North America, and you get the storm track that is more suppressed to the south. 

And there’s that blocking high we talked about over Greenland. So what ends up happening is you get cold stormy weather in Siberia, in Europe, you had cold and stormy weather in North America, and very little going on in the Atlantic, the blue areas here show where the cold air tends to reside. 

And that’s kind of where it’s residing right now, but does have an opportunity to come in. So when you take an Arctic isolation, that’s negative North Atlantic oscillation that’s negative. Those are cold phases for North America. 

And you get a pattern that looks like this. That’s why right after the new year, for at least a couple of weeks, the weather across the northern hemisphere across North America is going to get more wintry. 

I want to show you this is the upper level jet stream wind for Friday morning. Now, this is a little bit of a busy map I know. 

But here’s the Aleutians. And here’s Alaska. So here’s Alaska right here, we’ll mark that with an A. Then over here we have Japan, we’ll do that with a J. Then here’s the West Coast, there’s the Pacific Northwest. 

So now that you have your bearings, what I want to show you is is that that really bitter cold air that’s up here contrasts with the warmer Pacific waters here, that’s a little bit further north of those tropical areas. 

Notice the Jetstream winds, these are winds at 30,000 feet, when you get a jet stream like this rocketing across the North Pacific in the winter. This is like fuel. This is like gasoline. 

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So what will tend to happen is this very straight wind, look how straight west to east it is. And it’s moving. 

I mean, these are Jetstream winds that are 170 180 190 miles an hour. Least are forecasted to be like that. This is where you get clear air turbulence. 

This is where you hear about flights going across the Pacific where they hit lots of turbulence. This is what happens in these situations. 

Now what will tend to happen is, all of this stored up energy in the jet stream, eventually will not become a straight line anymore, but it will buckle causing a ridge and a trough. 

And that’s where we ended up with this pattern here where you start to get more waves, more storms in the system. 

So while we don’t have a lot to talk about in the short term, there’s a lot on the table in the long term. Have yourself a great Wednesday. We’ll see

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Don Day Wyoming Weather Forecast: Monday, December 28, 2020

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This is the Don Day Wyoming weather forecast for Monday, December 28, 2020.

Below is a rushed transcription of Don Day’s forecast. Excuse the errors.

It’s Monday, December 28 2020. Hope everyone had a great Christmas. As we start off this week, well, we actually have some winter weather to talk about. 

We certainly got into some winter weather in some areas after Christmas day after a beautiful Christmas Day, a couple of fronts came through bringing the mountains and snow and we did see some snow showers in the plains in some areas of the region yesterday, but now a more potent winter storm is gonna be taking place.

It’s going to be coming up out of Central and Southern California, that’s a spot we haven’t seen a storm ticket track for a while. 

In fact, there were parts of southern California that got an inch of rain last night good for them. Now, when you see a storm this time of year go into central and southern California. 

Usually we’re gonna have some winter weather later. And that’s exactly what will happen. It’s a little ahead of a schedule, we were thinking the storm was going to be a tuesday wednesday storm, but now it’s going to be a Monday evening, Monday night Tuesday storm, it will last into Tuesday. 

Most of the snow happens in most areas tonight. And into the early morning hours of Tuesday, it’s going to be an active pattern mainly for the mountains after the storm and into the new year, snowpack will grow some more. 

As it’s another good pattern for the high country. It’ll be unsettled on the plains, we don’t see a significant snow event on the plains after this incoming storm for a while, but it’s going to be unsettled meaning we’re gonna have more wind events. 

We’re also going to have yes, some opportunities for snow. But the significant snows again, in this line La Nina pattern this time of year will tend to stay more towards the higher elevations but it’s going to be a busy pattern into the new year. 

So perhaps there will be other opportunities coming. This is the National Weather Service map showing current advisories and watches and warnings when it comes to inclement weather, what I should want to show you here, especially if you’ve got travel plans or you know somebody traveling see all the pink and purple here. 

All of these areas are under some type of Winter Weather Advisory or winter storm warning for today tonight into early tomorrow. 

The entire state of Nebraska is under an advisory a lot of Kansas, a lot of Iowa, a lot of Minnesota, Wisconsin, a lot of Wyoming and the mountains of Colorado. 

So you can see, especially in this area right here, this region is going to be impacted by this winter storm. 

If you’re traveling or planning on traveling, if you haven’t left yet, you may just want to wait till the storm goes through because roads and highways are gonna get really icy this by our standards is not a big storm. 

But it’s the most weather we’ve had in a while and it’s gonna bring just enough snow, cold and wind to make some poor travel conditions across the region. 

This is where it is as of today, the low moving through Central and Southern California finally bringing that area some rain. 

And this is a really good pattern for us to get snowed on. But what you’ll notice is, instead of it becoming what we call a closed low, a deep Colorado low, it’s going to just keep moving and become more of an open wave as it’s going to join up with this system coming in behind it. And what will happen by tomorrow. 

This is by noon tomorrow. You can see it becomes an elongated trough really more of a frontal system that will head off to the east. And that’s going to keep it from becoming a really big storm. And then we’ve got another system diving in behind it now by Thursday noon. 

Notice we’ve got a lo consolidating down here in South Texas and we have another wave coming in behind it. What is likely going to happen late this week is there’s gonna be a pretty big winter storm in the nation’s midsection as this guy gets kicked up. 

So there’s going to be more travel concerns across the lower 48 states as we go to New Year’s Eve and as we go into New Year’s Day and you can see we’ve got another low backup here. Another low backup here. 

It’s gonna stay really busy. Now this is the snowfall forecast through Thursday afternoon. And you can see this really shows where we are showing you those advisories where the snow is going to fall so you can see all of Interstate 80 is going to be impacted all of Nebraska’s it will be impacted all of Wyoming’s it will be impacted. I 25 along the front range of Wyoming in the Colorado will be impacted. I 70 the mountains of Colorado. 

Gonna see a really nice shot of snow out of this. Look at the Wasatch. The winters of Utah going to see some pretty good snow with his system as well. And then the Pacific Northwest. He’s starting to see the next system coming on in later in the week. quick update on snowpacks. These have all gone up. 

They’re still all below normal except these two drainages here. But a couple of weeks ago these were in the low to mid 60s right here. These were in the 60s and 70s. So we’re starting to see them in shop. They got a ways to go but they’re inching up and we’ll continue to see these snowpack figures. 

Get a little bit better in the next couple of weeks, Colorado’s in a similar situation. These all right here, and right here, they’re gonna get some really good snow out of this storm system. So these numbers will be going up by the end of the week as well, long term. This is for Saturday Night of the upcoming New Year’s weekend. 

We’ve got a pretty good front here. We’ve got other systems back up here, the Northwest flow is going to continue to move in. What this will do is this will keep us from having arctic air come in. 

The Arctic air is still bottled up and it’s being held at bay. So no severe cold coming. But as long as this act of Jetstream comes in off the Pacific like this, these waves will keep coming through. So we’re basically going to have the same weather we’ve had wind events, mountain snow and occasionally some snow on the plains, but no slow moving storm. 

This is by next Wednesday. You can see we got a wave coming through the middle of next week. Another one behind it. Here’s one here, here’s one here, so they’re just going to keep coming. So you’re going to see the heaviest precipitation falling in the mountains in this area here over the next week or two. 

The Arctic oscillation we showed you this late last week. The Arctic oscillation all the way through January 12 remains in a negative phase and so with that negative phase, it’s going to stay an active weather pattern, but the focal point will be in the high country. Thanks for listening and watching the Day weather podcast.

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Snow, High Winds Hit Portions Of Wyoming On Monday Night

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cold temperatures, wind and light snow hit northwestern and southeastern Wyoming this week as more normal November weather returned to the region.

According to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, most of the week will be cold and feature at least a little bit of snow, at least in the southeast portion of the state.

The NWS reported that around one inch of snow fell in the area from Pine Bluffs to Rawlins, as well as in portions west of Riverton, Lander and the Yellowstone National Park area.

“Unsettled weather as we are in a progressive, fast moving west to east wind pattern,” the NWS said in a report Tuesday morning.

Tuesday would see “very windy” conditions, with wind-prone areas likely seeing gusts up to 70 or 75 mph, the Weather Service said. Gusts of up to 65 MPH were likely on the downslope of the Laramie and Snowy ranges, including cities like Cheyenne, Laramie and Wheatland.

Wyoming weatherman Don Day confirmed this in his Tuesday morning forecast.

“A more typical November pattern is finally settling into the western United States,” Day said.

Northwestern Wyoming will also be hit with snow over this week, but temperatures will begin rise over the weekend and into early next week.

Any truckers with light loads or people towing camper trailers will have difficulty driving across southeast Wyoming on Tuesday.

There will be another chance of strong winds later in the week.

Thursday will likely be the driest day in terms of snow and precipitation.

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Sorry, Wyoming’s Horrible Winds Are Not Uncommon For This Time of Year

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It’s a little too windy for October, isn’t it?

Unless you really like the wind, then the answer is yes. 

But when you look at the data, the hurricane force gusts that much of Wyoming has been experiencing are sadly not uncommon for October.

That being said, the 101 mph gust recorded at a place aptly called Mt. Coffin in Lincoln County does seem a little extreme.

It really shouldn’t be in the conversation though. That’s what Wyoming’s weatherman Don Day told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

“That’s because it was a mountaintop wind,” Day said. “It’s almost 11,000 feet and not representative of wind on the plains.”

Using Day’s restrictions, the 84 mph gust at Fort Washakie does count. As does the 83 mph wind gust at Arlington. And even the relatively wimpy 71 mph gust at the Cheyenne airport counts.

Sadly, it’s not unusual for this time of year.  We might think it’s unusual because it’s happening now and our memories really aren’t very good.

“October to April is our windy season and strong winds like yesterday happen in October more than you think,” Day said. 

It’s because the seasons are changing and when that happens, we experience an increase in strength of jet stream winds aloft and that’s when we get our high wind events, Day explained.

There’s got to be a way to make lemonade out of the lemons though, right?Not really.

You can try kite-flying. But you’ll never see your kite again, Day said.

Well, at least we can harness the excess wind and generate wind-power.

Nope. It’s even too windy to generate wind-power, he said.

If you want to blame anyone, you can blame Day. We do. We’re well aware that this is killing the messenger, but we don’t mind.

Truth be told, however, the problem is where the state is located.

Wyoming is in the mid-latitudes (half way between the North Pole and the equator), Day explained, and from fall to spring the jet stream is either overhead or nearby and we have strong winds aloft (which means strong wind events as Day mentioned earlier).

Second, Wyoming’s high elevation puts us closer to those jet stream winds.

Third, and this is where Day really gets interesting:

If you look at a map of North America, the largest gaps between mountains in the Rockies are in Wyoming, from the end of Snowy Range to the tip of the Wind Rivers and between Casper Mountain and the Bighorns.

“The winds get squeezed through the gaps and that accelerates the wind,” he explained “Like putting your thumb over a garden hose.”

“So, there are parts of Wyoming where the wind is accelerated because of the interaction with the terrain (mountains and mountain gaps) and the strong winds aloft,” Day said.  

“The best example of this is I-80 around Arlington/Elk Mountain and I-25 at Colorado border and I-25 south of Wheatland,” he said.

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Wyoming Weatherman Don Day Explains Change in Stratosphere Could Mean End of Warm October

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Wyoming meteorologist Don Day isn’t your average weatherman.

He’s not the fat guy who stands in front of the blue weather screen and blurts out the high temperatures for 15 locations across the state and then goes to five minutes worth of commercials before giving the forecast for the next 24 hours (which, incidentally, anyone could get in 10 seconds by checking their phone).

Day actually knows what he’s doing.

So anyone who listens to his forecasts or his podcasts actually can learn something by tuning in.

Today’s podcast is a good example.

Day explained that when the stratosphere is warm, the weather is cold in Wyoming and when the stratosphere is cold, the weather in Wyoming is warm.


“When the stratosphere warms up, the colder air that’s at the North Pole wants to push further south into the mid latitudes,” Day said. 

When the stratosphere gets colder, the colder air stays close to the North Pole and it continues to be warm where we are, he explained.

What does that mean for us?

It means that the warmer weather most of Wyoming has been experiencing over the first 10 days of October is probably over. And if the modeling is correct, Day says, it could be over for good. 

By the way, the stratosphere, as Day explained this morning, is not just a hotel in Las Vegas, but the layer of the atmosphere between 60,000 and 150,000 feet.

Day also explained how his weather maps work. For example, as we get closer and closer to winter, something known as the “Hudson Bay Vortex” gets created.

“Notice the green and blue colors here which represent some really cold air getting better consolidated,” he explained. 

“It’s a vortex of cold air that builds over the higher latitudes and really is a big producer of cold air masses during the winter season. Notice how it’s growing, getting better established,” he said.

For those interested in the “whys” of weather, Day’s daily forecasts are must-listen events.

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No Way — Outside of Time And Traveling Whack-A-Mole — To Escape the Smoky Air in Wyoming

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Like it or not, parts of Wyoming and other places in the west are stuck with smoky air for awhile because of the wildfires in California and the Pacific Northwest.

And that can be problematic for everyone but especially for people who already have breathing issues.

That’s why when we saw a television station in Spokane recommend Cody and Rock Springs as locations in Wyoming to escape the bad air, we wondered what was so special about these locations. Could they be home to smoke-free unicorns?

Sadly, there are no unicorns. The respite from the smoke could all be temporary.

Wyoming meteorologist Don Day said those two locations might be have good air quality presently, that could easily change.

“It is a moving target, the whole Cody/Rock Springs thing was at a moment in time, the smoke plumes come and go, so what is good one day may be bad the next,” Day told Cowboy State Daily.

“There are no good or worst spots,” he said.  “It all depends on the day.”

Day recommended visiting this website to check on the conditions in case you wanted to travel to get away from it.

If that is your strategy, be prepared to play a game of traveling whack-a-mole. You might be in a good location for six hours, only for weather patterns to shift and smoke to roll-in.

If you can suck it up for a couple more days, he says it will get better.

“I expect the smoke through Thursday, it starts to thin out Friday and into the weekend but may not completely move out,” Day said.

He said much-needed rain is headed for Washington and Oregon in the next few days which will certainly help. But most locations in California are still going to be dry.

“California fires will only get rain in the far north,” he said.  “Central and southern California fires will be the bigger smoke producers this weekend and next week.”

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Don Day: Good Weather Coming Up But Not Until the Weekend

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We’re already looking ahead and wondering when this summer winter storm is going to pass.

Wyoming’s weatherman Don Day says the weekend is going to be great. But until then, we have a big storm to work around.

“When you look out your window in many areas here in the Rockies and the High Plains, the storm is going to impact the region through Friday. This is a doozy of a storm system folks for this early in the season,” Day said in his morning forecast.

Day said the storm doesn’t mean winter has arrived. This is just an “interruption,” he said.

“We’ve got nice fall weather coming but certainly it is fall now. This storm system is basically readjusting the jet stream and we’re still going to have some warm dry days coming up in September and October.”

Travel conditions will improve after early Wednesday, Day said. 

And, although it may not seem that way, there is some good news that’s coming out of this moisture. It’s killing the fire season and will help with the drought.

“This is a godsend for the fires across the area,” Day said. “This is going to just do wonders with the fire situation. Especially the bad fire in the Front Range, the mountains west of Fort Collins. Look at all of that good moisture there.”

Wyoming will bounce back from this storm system but it’s going to take some time, Day said.

“Basically it’s going to stay very cool through Friday and we’ll see rain on the plains and snow showers in the high country. But by Saturday afternoon, we’ve got a nice high pressure Ridge returning to the region. It’s not a hot one.”

The following is a computer-generated transcript of the Don Day daily forecast. For best results, watch the video embedded above.

It’s Tuesday, September 8 2020, although you’d swear it’s November or December 8 2020. When you look at your window in many areas here in the Rockies and the High Plains, the storm is going to impact the region through Friday. 

Folks, a lot of the biggest impacts are certainly coming through the next 24 hours. This is a doozy of a storm system folks for this early in the season. We’ll have travel impacts into early Wednesday, after early Wednesday. I think travel conditions will improve although it’s going to be slow going still over the higher elevations of it and this the mountain passes of the region. 

Now this is a godsend for the fires that fire situation in Colorado, the Cameron Peak fire area blowing up over the weekend, causing widespread smoke across the Front Range, a huge increase in acreage that burned up but this is going to be a godsend the storm will for that fire and other fires burning in the West. And also the area’s most impacted by the real severe drought conditions this summer. 

We’ll get good moisture out of the storm system. Now by the weekend, we’re right back to nice September weather again. This doesn’t mean we’re into winter folks, it’s an interruption. We’ve got nice fall weather coming but certainly it is fall now, after the storm system is basically readjusting the jetstream and we’re likely … still gonna have some real warm dry days coming up in September, October, we’ll have other fronts as well. But good weather will return by the weekend. 

This is where we are today the big ridge in the Gulf of Alaska then the deep trough cutting into the United States. The upper level low over Utah is now bringing moisture into the region on top of the Arctic boundary that came into the region and is all away is even pushed west of the Continental Divide. So this is where we get overriding southwest winds over the cold air moisture getting lifted over the cold air. Great way to make it snow. The trajectory of the air follow the wind barbs …

Look how far … you wonder why it’s so cold because of the trajectory The air is coming all the way up basically from near the Arctic Circle folks. You wonder how things could change so quickly? Well over the weekend we had record heat come up from the deserts. And now we’ve actually completely done a 180 and bring it in from the Arctic. 

This is our temperature relative to normal as of this morning. Look at the extent of this cold plunge You know, this cold plunge is going to go east and will affect other areas of the Corn Belt Midwest just not the Rockies and high plains but that is one impressive cold blast. This is the precipitation that will fall through the next three or four days. 

Most of the heavier precipitation now is falling up in northern Wyoming and southern Montana but now it’s central and southern Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, the Western and high planes that are going to get a goodly amount of moisture, widespread moisture, the best we’ve seen in months in some areas, and you can see the yellow here the heavier precipitation in the mountains of Colorado, up into Wyoming. 

This is going to just do wonders with the fire situation. Especially the bad fire in the Front Range, the mountains west of Fort Collins. 

Look at all of that good moisture there. This is what temperatures are going to be like relative to average by tomorrow afternoon Denver 48 degrees below normal for temperatures by noon on Wednesday. That is one heck of a cold wave for this time of year. Look at this minus 30 degrees relative to normal going all the way through Amarillo and headed towards El Paso. Now let’s see what happens with the pattern. 

This is for tomorrow morning. The upper level low barely moves. It just parks itself right along the Colorado-Utah line. High pressure stays in the Gulf of Alaska and the storm is gonna basically linger keeping us cold and wet well into the day on Wednesday. By Friday, look at that, it barely moves. 

This is today. Two days later. It’s in East Central Wyoming. Now notice it’s not as strong. So what it will do is keep a cool moist, unstable airmass overhead. So basically it’s going to stay very cool through Friday and Wednesday through Friday will bring occasional showers of rain on the plains and snow showers to the high country, the region. 

But by Saturday afternoon, we’ve got a nice high pressure ridge returning to the region. It’s not a hot one. But what it will do is bring a return of nice looking, in fact, great looking September weather by the weekend that will probably stretch into all the next week and this is by next Thursday and Friday. 

A more zonal west to east flow goes across the country, so it’ll warm up. Now it won’t be terribly hot except here in California. The rest of the nation. This is really looking like a fall pattern with the jetstream, looking stronger, be more south towards the U.S. border. 

Tropical activity showing up again, in a long, long range charts. Maybe from mid to late next week something to keep an eye on. Thanks for listening and watching to the Day weather podcast. Hopefully you can get through the storm. Okay, talk to you Wednesday.

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