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The Climate of Wyoming

See additionally the Wyoming Climate Atlas and the Wyoming agricultural Climate Network

TOPOGRAPHIC FEATURESWyoming"s outstanding features are the majestic mountains and also high plains. Its mean elevation is around 6,700 feet above sea level and even as soon as the hills are excluded, the mean elevation end the southern part of the State is well over 6,000 feet, while much of the northern section is some 2,500 feet lower. The lowest point, 3,125 feet, is close to the northeast corner where the Belle Fourche River the cross the State line right into South Dakota. The highest allude is Gannett peak at 13,785 feet, i m sorry is part of the Wind River range in the west-central portion. Because the mountain ranges lie in a basic north-south direction, they room perpendicular come the prevailing westerlies, therefore, the mountain ranges carry out effective barriers which force the wait currents moving in native the Pacific ocean to rise and drop much of their moisture along the western slopes. The State is considered semiarid eastern of the mountains. There space several mountain ranges, yet the mountains themselves cover much less area 보다 the high plains. The topography and variations in elevation do it difficult to divide the State right into homogeneous, climatological areas.

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The Continental division splits the State from close to the northwest corner to the facility of the southern border. This leaves many of the drainage areas to the east. The run-off drains into three great river systems: the Columbia, the Colorado, and the Missouri. The Snake with its tributaries in the northwest flows into the Columbia; the eco-friendly River drains many of the Southwest portion and joins the Colorado: the Yellowstone, Wind River, huge Horn, Tongue, and also Powder drainage locations cover many of the north section and flow northward right into the Missouri; the Belle Fourche, Cheyenne, and also Niobrara spanning the east-central portion, flow eastward: while the Platte drains the southeast and flows eastward right into Nebraska. Over there is a reasonably small area follow me the southwest border the is drained by the be affected by each other which flows right into the good Salt Lake. In the south-central section west the Rawlins, over there is an area referred to as the good Divide Basin. Part of this area is regularly referred to together the Red Desert. There is no drainage native this Basin and precipitation, i m sorry averages just 7 to 10 customs annually, complies with creekbeds to ponds or small lakes whereby it either evaporates or percolates into the ground.

Snow accumulation to significant depths in the high mountains and also many of the streams fed through the melting snow furnish ample amounts of water for watering of hundreds of acres the land. The snowmelt likewise furnishes the water come generate electric power, and also for residential use.

Rapid run-off from hefty rain during thunderstorms reasons flash flooding on the headwater streams, and also when the time of these storms coincides with the melting of the snow pack, the flooding is intensified. As soon as overflow wake up in the vicinity the urban communities situated close to the streams considerable damage results. TEMPERATUREBecause the its elevation, Wyoming has actually a fairly cool climate. Above the 6,000 feet level the temperature hardly ever exceeds 100° F. The warmest parts of the State space the lower portions of portions of the big Horn Basin, the lower elevations of the main and northeast portions, and along the eastern border. The highest recorded temperature was 114° F top top July 12, 1900, at container in the big Horn Basin. The typical maximum temperature at basin in July is 92° F. For most of the State, median maximum temperatures in July variety between 85 and 95° F. With enhancing elevation, median values drop rapidly. A few places in the hills at around the 9,000 foot level have average maximums in July close to 70° F. Summer nights are virtually invariably cool, also though daytime readings may be quite high at times. Because that most places away from the mountains, the typical minimum temperature in July arrays from 50 to 60 ° F. Of course, the mountains and high valleys are lot cooler with median lows in the middle of the summer in the 30s and also 40s with occasional drops listed below freezing. In the wintertime it is properties to have rapid and frequent changes between mild and also cold spells. Typically there are less than 10 cold waves throughout a winter, and also frequently much less than half that number for many of the State. The majority of cold waves relocate southward ~ above the eastern side the the Divide. Periodically only the northeast part of the State is impacted by the cold air together it slides eastward over the plains. Countless of the cold waves are not add by sufficient snow to cause severe conditions. In January, the coldest month generally, guy minimum temperatures range mostly from 5 come 10° F. In the west valleys typical values go under to about 5° listed below zero. The record low because that the State is -66° F observed February 9, 1933, in ~ Yellowstone Park. Throughout warm spells in the winter, nighttime temperatures typically remain over freezing. Chinooks, warm downslope winds, are common along the east slopes. Countless valleys provide ideal pockets because that the collection of cold wait drainage in ~ night. Protecting mountain ranges protect against the wind from stirring the air, and the colder heavier waiting settles right into the valleys frequently sending readings well below zero. That is typical to have temperatures in the valleys significantly lower 보다 on the nearby mountain side. Huge Piney in the green River valley is together a location. Average January temperature in the huge Horn basin show the variation between readings in the lower part of the valley and also those greater up. At Worland and Basin in the lower part of the big Horn Basin, not far from the 4,000 foot level, the mean minimum temperature for January is zero, while Cody, close to 5,000 feet ~ above the west next of the valley has actually a mean January minimum that 11° F. January, the coldest month, has actually occasional soft periods as soon as maximum readings will certainly reach the 50s; however, winters space usually long and cold.GROWING SEASON at an early stage freezes in the fall and also late in the spring room characteristic. This outcomes in lengthy winters and also short farming seasons. However, it is a county of rapid changes through the fall, winter, and spring seasons, with constant variations native cold come mild periods. The average growing season (freeze-free period) because that the principal farming areas is about 125 days. For hardier plants which can stand a temperature that 28° F, or slightly lower, the farming season is the farming areas eastern of the divide is around 145 days. In the mountains and high valleys freeze temperatures may occur any kind of time during the summer. For tender plants over there is practically no growing season in such locations as the upper environment-friendly River Valley, the Star Valley and also Jackson Hole. At Farson close to Sandy Creek, a tributary that the environment-friendly River, the mean is 42 days between the critical temperature the 32° F in at an early stage summer and also the an initial freeze in so late summer. Because that the locations like the Star Valley and Jackson Hole, the farming season is also shorter.SUNSHINEFor many of the State, sunshine ranges from 60 percent that the feasible amount throughout the winter to about 75 percent throughout the summer. Mountain areas receive less, and in the wintertime the estimated amount end the northwestern hills is about 45 percent. In the summertime as soon as sunshine is greatest - not only in time but likewise intensity - it is characteristic because that the mornings come be mostly clear. Cumulus clouds develop practically every day and also frequently blot the end the sunlight for a portion of the afternoons. Since the altitude gives less atmosphere for the sun"s rays to penetrate and because that the very small amount the fog, haze, and smoke, the strongness of sunshine in person who is abnormal high.PRECIPITATION Like various other states in the west, precipitation different a good deal native one location to another. The duration of preferably precipitation occurs in the spring and also early summer for many of the State. Precipitation is greater over the mountain ranges and also usually at the greater elevations, although elevation alone is not the primary influence. Because that example, over many of the southwest portion, where the elevation varieties from 6,500 come 8,500 feet, annual precipitation different from 7 come 10 inches. At lower elevations end the northeast section and follow me the eastern border, where elevations are mainly in the range from 4,000 to 5,500 feet, yearly averages are from 12 come 16 inches. The fairly dry southwest portion is a high plateau virtually surrounded by mountain ranges. The big Horn container provides a striking example of the result of mountain ranges in impede the flow of humidity laden waiting from the east and from the west. The lower section of the basin has an yearly precipitation that 5 to 8 inches, and also it is the driest component of the State. The station reflecting the the very least amount is Seaver in ~ 4,105 feet with an yearly mean of about 5.50 inches. In the southern part of the Basin, Worland in ~ 4,061 feet has an annual mean of 7 to 8 inch as contrasted with Termopolis in ~ 4,313 feet and 11 come 12 inches. Over there is another an excellent example in the southeastern component of the State where Laramie in ~ 7,236 feet has actually an yearly mean the 10 inches, when 30 mile to the west, Centennial in ~ 8,074 feet receives about 16 inches. Just a couple of locations obtain as much as 40 inch a year, based on gage records. Throughout the summer, showers are fairly frequent however often lot to only a couple of hundredths of one inch. Occasionally there will be some really heavy rain associated with thunderstorms spanning a couple of square miles. There space usually several neighborhood storms each year with from 1 come 2 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. On rarely occasions, 24-hour amounts variety from 3 come 5 inches. The best 24-hour complete recorded for any kind of place in Wyoming is 5.50 inches in ~ Dull Center, close to Newcastle, on may 31, 1927.HUMIDITY and EVAPORATION The typical relative humidity is rather low and also provides delightful summer weather. Throughout the warmer component of the summer days, the humidity drops to around 25 to 30 percent, and also on a few occasions it will be together low together 5 come 10 percent. So late at night once the temperature is lowest, the humidity will typically rise to 65 or 75 percent. This outcomes in an mean diurnal variation of about 40 come 45 percent during the summer, however in the winter the variation is lot less. Low loved one humidity, high percent of sunshine, and rather high mean winds all contribute to a high price of evaporation. Because of regular spells of freezing weather before May 1 and also after September 30, it is daunting to obtain consistent documents of evaporation for an ext than the 5-month duration from may through September. For this period, the mean amount that evaporation is roughly 41 inches, as determined from evaporation pans at a few selected locations. The overall variety is indigenous 30 to about 50 inches.

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SEVERE STORMS Hailstorms are the many destructive type of regional storm because that this State, and also every year damage to crops and also property from hail quantity to countless thousands of dollars. Sometimes a hailstorm will pass over a city and cause severe damage. Most of the hailstorms pass over the open rangeland and also damage is slight, return in tiny areas of crop producing land, some farmers sometimes lose whole crop by hail. Tornadoes occur, however records display they space much less frequent and also destructive 보다 those that happen in the Midwest. The reasonably small lot of devastation is partly due to the fact that many of Wyoming is open selection country and sparsely populated. However, records show that tornadoes which take place here are rather smaller and also have a shorter duration. Numerous of them touch the ground for only a couple of minutes before receding into the clouds. The season extends indigenous April v September. June has the best number on the median with may next and most happen in the eastern component of the State. Wyoming is quite windy, and during the winter over there are frequent periods when the wind get 30 to 40 miles every hour through gusts to 50 or 60. Prevailing directions in the different localities vary type west-south-west through west to northwest. In numerous localities winds room so strong and constant from those directions the trees show a identify lean in the direction of the eastern or southeast.SNOW and BLIZZARDS Snow falls typically from November with May and at reduced elevations is light to moderate. Around five times a year top top the average, stations in ~ the reduced elevations will have snowfall exceeding 5 inches. Falls of 10 come 15 inch or an ext for a solitary storm occur but are infrequent external of the mountains. Wind will generally accompany of monitor a snowstorm and also pile the snow right into drifts several feet deep. The snow periodically drifts so lot that it is difficult to obtain precise measurement of snowfall. An abnormally heavy snow occurred at Sheridan ~ above the 3rd and fourth of April 1955. During this period the snowfall price to 39.0 inches, had actually a water equivalent of 4.30 inches and also blizzard problems lasted much more than 43 hours. High winds and also low temperatures with snow cause blizzard or near blizzard conditions. These conditions sometimes last a day or two, but it is uncommon for a significant blizzard to critical over 3 days. Total annual snowfall different considerably. At the reduced elevations in the east, the variety is from 60 to 70 inches. Over the drier southwest portion, amounts vary native 45 to 55 inches. Eye is very light in the big Horn container with yearly averages native 15 come 20 inches over the lower portion and 30 to 40 inches on the sides of the container where elevations selection from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. The hills receive a good deal much more and in the greater ranges annual amounts are fine over 200 inches. At Beckler flow Ranger terminal in the southwest edge of Yellowstone Park, the snowfall averages 262 inches because that a 20-year period. The weather pattern most favorable for precipitation is one through a low-pressure center a small to the southern of the State. This will certainly normally carry out a condition where reasonably cool air in ~ the surface ar is overrun by warmer moist air. Studies of wind flow patterns suggest that Wyoming is covered most of the time by air from the Pacific. A smaller percentage of time the State is spanned by cold air masses that relocate down from Canada. Wyoming Water resources Data device - created 1966