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Wyoming Might Escape Record-Smashing High Temps In Northwest & Southwest U.S.

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Record high temperatures in the northwest and southwest United States have caused a number of deaths and are threatening to overwhelm the power grid in some states like California.

But extreme temperatures like those that have been reported in other parts of the country are unlikely to occur in Wyoming, according to meteorologist Don Day.

“I think, for the next three weeks — this would take us through the end of July — I certainly see some hot days coming,” Day said, “but whether or not we hit a long string of record heat? I don’t see it.”

Last month saw the hottest Junes on record for eight states, including Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah and the heat currently baking those states could challenge previous record high temperatures — although meteorologists say this heat wave isn’t expected to be as extreme as the one that caused more than 100 deaths in the Pacific Northwest the last week of June.

Day explained that a tropical storm over the Pacific Ocean created a high pressure system over the Pacific Northwest — and that system was in just the right position to draw dry, hot air from over the deserts in California and Nevada. 

“It was basically the perfect setup, which brought the record heat,” he said.

“Heat domes” are zones of strong high pressure, beneath which the air is compressed and heats up. In a drought-stricken region, however, a heat wave is even more extreme. With very little moisture in soils, heat energy that would normally cause evaporation, helping to cool the air, instead increases the heat in the air and the ground.

“This establishment of this hot pattern (in the southwest) is being exacerbated because those areas are in severe drought,” Day said. “So, you know, it always gets hot there this time of year, but the drought situation that they’re in, it makes this period of hot weather more impactful for sure.”

But Day clarified that the heat wave that residents in the southwest are experiencing right now is completely normal for this time of year.

“You do not expect 70- to 80-degree temperatures in the desert southwest and the central valleys of California,” he said. “This is a hot time of year, and it’s also a very dry time of year. The high pressure ridge that’s building — yes, it’s going to bring triple digit heat, but in terms of the deviation from normals, it won’t be anything like what happened in the Pacific Northwest. It’s just a summer wave of heat in the desert southwest, where temperatures are gonna be about 10 or 15 degrees above average.”

But Day said that the overall weather patterns that are forming over the intermountain west aren’t unusual.

“If you were to look at climatology, the hottest weeks of the year on average in most of Wyoming is going to be the middle of July to the middle of August,” Day said. “Those four weeks are typically the hottest days of the year. So you’re going to get heat regardless — just like saying you’re going to get really cold in January or February.”

But Day said that the weather patterns that bring afternoon showers and thunderstorms to Wyoming should continue.

“We’re going to start to get some of the subtropical moisture coming in, where you get more afternoon clouds, you get more afternoon showers with thunderstorms,” Day said, explaining that those showers and thunderstorms break up the heat of the day. “That’s not to say we won’t get some record highs, but nothing that is going to be off the charts.”  

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Wyoming Towns Annihilated Record Temperatures on Tuesday

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

It wasn’t just the breaking of high-temperature records, it was the obliteration of the records. Or annihilation. Or perhaps eradication. Decimation would work too, but that’s actually an incorrect usage of the word.

Whatever word or phrase you want to use to describe the heat wave that all but destroyed old high-temperature records in Wyoming on Tuesday, it happened. Simply put, it was hot.

Sheridan tied the highest temperature ever recorded in that town — on any day — by hitting 107 degrees on Tuesday. As for the date of June 15 itself, the previous record was a lukewarm 98 back in 1931.

You know it’s hot when Big Piney — the town known as the “Icebox of the Nation” — tops the 90 degree mark. It did. The icebox notched back-to-back records on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures of 90 and 91, respectively.

Worland topped a 34-year-old record by hitting 106 degrees on Tuesday, erasing the 102 degree record set back in 1987.

Thermopolis hit 104 degrees, which smashed its old record of 98 recorded in 1959.

Buffalo also hit the 104 mark and in doing so broke the old record by 19 degrees. The previous high was only 85 set only a year ago.

Cheyenne’s record high of 92 was impressive in that the old record was set before Wyoming was even a state. Its previous high was 90 and was recorded in 1888.

As for other records, the following communities also set all-time highs on Tuesday:

Rock Springs

Certainly there were other communities that participated in the obliteration as well but these were the towns the weather services reported.

More records are possible this week. The big cool-down will begin on Friday.

In the meantime, try to stay cool, Wyoming. Summer isn’t here for long, so enjoy the heat!

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Car Struck By Lightning Outside Cheyenne During Tuesday Storm

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two people in a car on Interstate 80 Tuesday evening managed to avoid injury after their vehicle was struck by lightning during a severe storm in Cheyenne.

According to Laramie County Fire District No. 10, firefighters, the Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and emergency medical workers responded to a report of a vehicle on Interstate 80 near Cheyenne being struck by lightning.

The vehicle’s driver and passenger said the lightning struck the hood of their car and then felt as if something pushed the car forward. The driver was able to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road even though its electrical power had been knocked out.

The departent said the lightning struck the front of the car and traveled to the back window, causing it to shatter. A couple of small pieces of plastic were also melted on the passenger side’s front wheel well.

“When dealing with lightning storms, and rapid weather changing conditions it’s critical to remain inside your vehicle while traveling,” the district said. Your vehicle is shelter. It’s also very important to not block the roadway under overhead passes, and bridges during hail storms. This allows emergency vehicles to respond to an emergency without interruption.”

According to an NBC report, cars are safe from lightning because of the metal cage surrounding people in the vehicle. The cage directs the lightning charge around the occupants and into the ground.

Tuesday’s hailstorm, accompanied by more than 2.3 inches of rain, left some streets flooded, but otherwise caused no major damage.

After the storm, Cheyenne has now seen more precipitation since Jan. 1 than in all of 2020, receiving 11.3 inches of precipitation so far this year. In 2020, the city only saw 10.03 inches.

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Cheyenne Pummeled With Hail; Wyoming One of the Most Hailed-On States In Country

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

It turns out that the kind of hailstorms Cheyenne saw Tuesday are sort of typical for the season, according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday’s hailstorm, accompanied by more than 2.3 inches of rain, left some streets flooded, but otherwise caused no major damage.

Gerry Claycomb, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, said this region is well known for its hailstorms, with the area from Rapid City, South Dakota to Denver seeing “quite a bit” of hail every year.

“A lot of the hail has to do with the elevation, since we’re pretty high up here in Cheyenne,” Claycomb told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “So since we’re so high up in the atmosphere, the big hail that forms in thunderstorms has a lot less time to melt before it hits the ground.”

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming usually have the highest number of hailstorms in the United States every year. These states meet in an area known as “hail alley” and average seven to nine hail days per year.

Claycomb said early June is a prime time for severe storms in southeast Wyoming.

He added that some of the worst-hit areas for hail during the year are Torrington, Chugwater and Wheatland.

“Those people get some massive hail,” he said. “The topography up there mixed with the higher elevation means they just get terrible hail. Some of the worst reports I’ve seen of hail in the state have come from there.”

Hail that completely covers roadways can be especially dangerous because if it is deep enough, a vehicle’s tires may not touch the road at all, making it a sheet of ice.

After the Tuesday hailstorm, Cheyenne has now seen more precipitation since Jan. 1 than all of 2020, receiving 11.3 inches of precipitation so far this year. In 2020, the city only saw 10.03 inches.

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Summer Temps Set Records Across Wyoming

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Summer hit Wyoming with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees above average in many parts of the state, setting record highs, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Though not unprecedented, Riverton meteorologist Noah Myers said, it’s also not typical of this time of year.

“It does happen,” Myers said, “and it’s definitely setting records and probably will (Friday), too.”

The National Weather Service data is based on information collected over the past 20 years from primary weather sites throughout the state.

The hotspot Thursday was Greybull with a high of 95 degrees, well above the average of 75 degrees for early June, breaking former record-high of 88 set in 2000.  

Buffalo hit a high of 90 degrees, beating the former all-time high of 82 degrees for June 3 set last year. Gillette also hit a high of 90 on Thursday.

Big Piney’s daytime high of 85 on Thursday also set a record, beating the previous record of 82 set in 1986. Casper was slightly cooler at 84 degrees, tying its record high for the same day in 1992.

Riverton, too, saw an all-time high of 88 degrees, breaking a 19-year-old record. Rock Springs, meanwhile, also set a record at 78 degrees, 1 degree above the previous record of 77 set in 2020.

Slightly chillier but also setting a record high was Lander at 81 degrees, just one degree above 80 degrees on the same day last year.

Even Lake Yellowstone registered a new record of 75 degrees for Thursday, 5 degrees above its previous record set in 2004. Typically, temperatures in the Tetons average in the mid-50s for this time of year. 

The heat wave is expected to continue throughout the weekend. 

These data are preliminary and have not undergone final quality control by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) with final assessments accessible at

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Don Day: Wyoming Drought Expected to Persist

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By Averi Hales, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

 La Niña, decreased precipitation, and drought are all phrases producers are hearing more regularly. In an interview with “Wakeup Wyoming”, Meteorologist Don Day said the chance of the ongoing drought continuing through 2022 is eminent, all thanks to the oscillating La Niña pattern.

 “In the western U.S., La Niñas are dry and El Niños are wet,” Day said, noting western states are entering the second year of a La Niña cycle. “Although it may not be as strong, the opportunity for the drought to break this spring and summer is low, as long as we continue to see this La Niña.”

“We’ve seen this before, and this is a pattern that repeats itself. But, we have to get out of this pattern, and honestly I don’t think it will be until 2022,” he said.

The three-month outlooks for temperature and precipitation probability released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for May through June, made April 15, predict a stronger chance of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the time period.

Day explained even though this spring and summer might be warmer and dryer than normal, he doesn’t think it will be as dry as last summer.

The outlook for this summer greatly depends on the moisture the area receives in May.

“May is the wettest month on average in Wyoming and we are not at average, which does not bode well,” Day said. “A lot of the summer’s dryness is going to hinge on what precipitation we get over the next five weeks.”

“May is supposed to be wet, and it will be wet. But, it has to be wetter than normal to put a dent into the drought, and I don’t see it,” he said.

Although snow and rain are in the forecast for the next month, it may not be enough to combat ongoing drought, Day said.

To view climate outlooks, visit

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Don Day Wyoming Weather Forecast: Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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Much Of I-80 Closed Due To Winter Conditions

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By Staff Reports, Rock Springs Rocket Miner

Several Wyoming roads are closed due to winter weather conditions and rolling closures on Wednesday, April 14, and the closures are likely to extend into Thursday, April 15. 

Interstate 80 is closed both directions between Rock Springs and Laramie due to winter conditions. The interstate is also closed westbound between Laramie and Cheyenne due to a rolling closure. The estimated opening time is 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

In addition, Wyoming Highway 430 is closed to through traffic between Rock Springs and the Colorado state line due to winter conditions, and the opening time is unknown.

Both I-80 and WH-430 were closed earlier on Wednesday, but reopened for much of the afternoon before closing again in the evening.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect through Thursday afternoon, April 15, for most of central and western Wyoming. The heaviest period of snow is expected to be from late Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.

Total additional snow accumulations of 1 to 4 inches are possible. Blowing snow will be common as a northeast wind will be gusting 35 to 50 mph across Sweetwater County Wednesday into the night.

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Don Day: Spring Is On Spring Break This Week

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State

Many Wyoming residents woke up Wednesday to discover, to either their delight or horror, that snow had fallen overnight.

Thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as bad the blizzard that blanketed much of the state last month, with only a few inches falling across the state over the last 24 hours.

Wyoming weatherman Don Day confirmed this in his Wednesday morning forecast, saying there were really no good days ahead.

“Spring is on spring breaks, folks,” he said. “This is a long stretch of cold and occasionally damp weather. We’re going to have off and on snow, rain, fog through this region through Friday.”

According to the National Weather Service, the most snowfall was seen in the southern portion of the state, with around 3-4 inches having fallen.

However, much of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rock Springs was closed due to the weather conditions, but was expected to open sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Some other local highways, especially in the Laramie and Rawlins area, were closed due to the winter weather conditions.

However, the cold temperatures and snow weren’t only expected for Wednesday.

According to the NWS in Cheyenne, winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings were in effect for much of the area through Friday morning.

Snow would continue to impact the region in multiple waves throughout the next 48 hours, with the worst conditions happening through the nighttime and early morning hours.

Anywhere from three to 10 inches of snow are expected to fall in the lower elevations, with the Snowy Range expected to see 1-2 feet in snow.

In the Arlington and Elk Mountain areas, near blizzard conditions are possible.

“Bottom line: If you have travel plans across the region from now through the remainder of the work week, expect minor to moderate travel impacts due to icy, snow packed roads and low visibilities,” the NWS said. “The most severe conditions will be found along I-80 near Arlington and the Summit area between Laramie and Cheyenne.”

Day added there will be a “modest” break over the weekend from the cold weather before it returns again Monday.

“This cold front, I think, is going to be worse than what we’re experiencing this week,” Day said. “I’ve got no good news for you right now.”

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High Temperature Records Fall Throughout Wyoming as Heat Wave Continues

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If you thought it was warmer than usual this weekend, you aren’t dreaming. 

Record high temperatures were set across the state on Saturday and Sunday and more records could be toppled on Monday as the unseasonable weather for the area continues.

You know it’s a heat wave when Big Piney, Wyoming — frequently known as the icebox of the nation — hits 70 degrees in April, which it did on Sunday.

Normally this time of year, Big Piney averages 44 degrees for the high temperature.

Records also fell in Buffalo, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Lander, Laramie, Rawlins, Riverton, and Rock Springs.

Some of the previous record highs had been around for a long, long time too.

Cheyenne’s high of 76 degrees on Sunday broke a 132-year record as the previous high of 72 degrees had stayed on the record books since 1889 — before Wyoming was a state.

The real hot stuff occurred just to the east of Wyoming where Scottsbluff, Nebraska hit 85 degrees. That beat the former high of 81 degrees which was set back in 1942.

As it’s April in Wyoming, these warm temperatures won’t stick around for long.

As Dubois artist Gary Keimig said on Saturday: “We are in what might be called a false Spring.”

Record high temperatures for some areas of Wyoming will likely continue on Monday before a cold front rushes in and brings more typical April-like weather to Wyoming.

Enjoy it while it lasts…

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