Wyoming Weather Records – Our Top 7
With the unexpectedly warm temperatures this week [March 8, 2012] and this season’s lack of snow, Wyoming weather has become the topic of many recent discussions. However, when you compare this season’s wacky weather to standing Wyoming weather records, the past few 50 degree days no longer seem strange.
While some in the state complain that Wyoming is much too cold, the highest temperature on record is 114 degrees. The temperature was recorded in July 12, 1900 at Basin in the Big Horn Basin, where most of the high temperatures in the state hang out. (The average maximum temperature in Basin during July is 92 degrees.) However, Wyomingites who complain about the cold have their evidence as well. The lowest recorded temperature in the state is -66 degrees. It was observed on Feb. 9, 1933 in Yellowstone National Park. This -66 degree mark puts Wyoming at No. 4 of the 10 coldest temperatures recorded in towns nationally.
While Wyoming is No. 3 on the list of top 10 driest states, Wyoming does have a significant record rainfall (in comparison to other dry states at least). On Aug. 1, 1985, Cheyenne received 6.06 inches of rain in three hours causing a flood, which was 39 percent of their annual total of rain. 12 people died in the flood, and there was a total property damage of $65 million. The storm also contained hail up to two inches in diameter and 70 mph winds. That stands in stark contrast to Laramie, which receives only 10 inches of rain annually.
Sheridan holds the record for worst snowstorm. On April 3 and 4 of 1955, Sheridan received four feet of snowfall. The blizzard lasted for more than 43 hours. Typically, blizzards only last for a day or two, so for Sheridan to have a three-day blizzard is quite impressive (or horrific if you dislike snow). Snowstorms like these have caused 10 deaths and $8.5 million in property damage between 1993 and 2001.
While locals (and out of state college students) often think that Laramie is the windiest city in the state, that honor actually goes to Casper. Visitors know the wind must be bad in Casper if they need a solid steel pole to completely arch across the road to hold up a little stoplight. Cheyenne ranks the fifth windiest city on average (calculated by wind speed and frequency of windy days) in the nation. However, high winds are common across the state. Between 1993 and 2001, high winds caused one death and $1.4 million in property damage.
While some of the largest hail on record was found in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, Cheyenne actually wins for having the most hail storms per year. Typically, Cheyenne averages 10 hailstorms per year. Between 1950 and 2001 Cheyenne faced $13.9 million in property damage and $1.26 million in crop damage due to hail storms.
While cold record temperatures, hail storms, and wind records may not make Wyoming look like the most hospitable place to live, at least the sun shines here more than in most states. In fact, 60 percent of time in the winter, the sun is shining. Even more so if you live in Cheyenne, Lander or Sheridan. (Remember that when it’s negative -20 and you wonder why you didn’t go south for the winter.) The summer fairs even better with the sun shining about 75 percent of the time.
The southeast corner of Wyoming is closet to "Tornado Alley" and receives the most tornados within the state. Laramie County had the most tornados with 90 between 1950 and 2003. However, one of the worst tornados struck four years ago in 2008 in Laramie. There was property damage but no one was killed.