Areas across Wyoming saw record breaking temperatures this week, with above 90-degree days in Cheyenne, Laramie and Rawlins. Douglas even reached 100 degrees, breaking the 91-degree daily record set in 2012.
Laramie’s 94-degree Tuesday tied for the city’s all-time high temperature and shattered the daily record for June 15, which was previously 86 degrees. The two other times Laramie reached 94 degrees was June 23, 1954, and Aug. 5, 1979.
“Records have been broken and smashed in many areas Monday and Tuesday,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Tim Troutman said during a weather briefing Wednesday. “With that in mind, it looks like things are just going to, over a long period of time, probably continue to be slightly above normal temperature wise.”
The heat pushed residents into the air conditioning, with some braving the weather to hit the pool. While a cool front should reach southeastern Wyoming at the end of this weekend and the start of next week, the reprieve from the heat isn’t expected to last long.
Looking at the next eight to 14 days, NWS Meteorologist Jaren Allen said, “Temperatures, unfortunately, are not a great trend — (we’re) at least at 30% to 40% favored to be above normal temperatures as we close out the month of June.”
As Allen described, a high-pressure ridge in the mid and lower levels of the atmosphere has pushed down on the air and made it sink. When that happens, the temperature increases significantly as it moves down. According to Allen, such occurrences are normally seen in late July or August.
“It’s an anomalous, hot, high-pressure system and ridge pattern that’s set up kind of over the intermountain west and the Rockies,” he said.
With areas across the state lacking in precipitation, the weather event may also have been accelerated by the dry air, which heats up more efficiently than humid air. Allen said statewide, the long-term, three-month projections showed a 40% to 50% chance of being above normal temperature wise and a 30% to 40% likelihood of having lower-than-normal precipitation levels.
Given that, residents should also be ready for a significant fire season and take proper precautions while camping and enjoying the great outdoors. The U.S. Forest Service entered into phase one fire restrictions for a number of outdoor areas Tuesday, including the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, so be sure to check outdoor recreation areas’ websites to learn the restrictions before traveling.
“Going into restrictions is not taken lightly by the Forest Service. Restrictions are necessary due to dry fuel conditions, persistent fire weather patterns and the danger of human-caused wildfires from recreation usage across the Forests and Grassland,” a Forest Service news release stated Tuesday. “Recent dry, windy, and hot weather conditions have resulted in an elevated potential for wildfires. Fire restrictions will help protect public health and safety, as well as natural resources.”