CHEYENNE – Wyoming’s capital city could be on track to record its hottest summer in 147 years, according to the National Weather Service.

In Cheyenne, Monday’s maximum temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit is one of the highest on record for Aug. 24 – Aug. 24, 1936, still holds the daily record when temperatures peaked at 94 degrees.

So far during the month of August, 89 degrees has been the average maximum temperature residents of Cheyenne have experienced in 2020. That’s much higher than the normal average maximum temperature for August in Cheyenne, which is 81.8 degrees.

Dry air is the most likely reason behind the spike in temperature. Whereas August in Cheyenne usually sees precipitation total around 1.6 inches, weather officials have only observed a total of 0.08 inches of precipitation so far this month.

“The drier air tends to heat up to a higher temperature than moist air,” said Richard Emanuel, a NWS forecaster based in Cheyenne. “There’s also been high pressure in the upper atmosphere that’s been kind of anchored over the southwest part of the country, which has also helped to make it unusually warm.”

The unusually dry air, Emanuel said, has also buttressed the spate of the wildfires raging through Colorado, which, according to The Denver Post, have burned more than 300 square miles of forest as of Monday.

Laramie County is still under a partial fire ban due to the especially dry conditions. With a few exceptions, open fires and the use of fireworks are prohibited by order of the Laramie County Board of Commissioners.

The dry heat gripping Cheyenne is expected to ease by the end of this week, with maximum daily temperatures forecasted to dip into the mid-to-low 80s and even in the 70s this time next week.

“There will still be warm periods, even into September,” Emanuel said. “But hopefully we’ll be getting away from these very hot temperatures we’ve been having.”

The National Weather Service will compile its records at the end of this month to determine if Cheyenne has, in fact, experienced the hottest summer since 1873, which is as far back as recorded weather data for the area is available.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared online at WyomingNews.com and on the WyoNews app at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24.

Kathryn Palmer is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s education reporter. She can be reached at kpalmer@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynbpalmer.

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