Strong Winds to Return to Wyoming
September 23rd, 2020
The official first day of fall was yesterday, but outside of a crazy winter weather event during the second week of the month temperatures have been well above average for us in Wyoming and it has not felt like fall. Above average temperatures are expected across Wyoming through the rest of the month, however the jet stream aloft is starting to dip back into the US, which will ultimately lead to a break from the summer pattern. The first pattern change that will occur is the return of the widespread Wyoming Winds. Several locations in Wyoming will have multiple days of breezy conditions (20+ mph sustained) over the next several days, a sure sign that fall is arriving for us. But these strong winds arriving when they are and where they could be a major problem.
The state remains dry despite several small rain showers across the state Tuesday afternoon through the overnight hours. The Mullen Fire continues to grow in the Medicine Bow National forest as well, now having burned more than 14,000 acres. The winds coming are not only going to spread that fire, they are going to be pushing it towards the Rob Roy Reservoir, the source of 75% of Cheyenne’s drinking water. Winds are expected to be pushing up to 25 mph sustained with gusts over 30 mph in the southern and central regions of the state Thursday. The Storm Prediction Center has already gone and issued a Critical Risk (Level 2/3) for wildfires in much of Central and Southern Wyoming. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Carbon, Albany, Converse, Niobrara, and western Laramie and Platte counties until 8:00 PM Thursday night. The rest of the state is under a Red Flag Watch until 8:00 PM Friday night.
Friday will bring wind speeds of 30+ mph sustained and gusts of 50+ mph from the west-southwest to the central and southern regions of the state while bringing sustained speeds of 20+ mph and gusts of 30+ mph to the rest of the state. Fire risks for Friday will be higher and more widespread than Thursday, and by the time this is all said and done, the Mullen Fire will likely have pushed closer to Rob Roy if it hasn’t grown around it already. More strong winds will be possible over the weekend and into next week, and will likely become more frequent as we shift into October and more of a fall pattern.
As for sky conditions during the same time frame, rain chances are negligible for the next several days. However plenty of cloud cover is expected on Friday and into Saturday morning, and even more are expected on Sunday and into Monday. The presence of clouds will limit the amount of smoke that may blow into Wyoming with the strong winds before the weekend, however the lack of rain combined with strong winds will promote a favorable environment for fire growth, even with the efforts firefighters are giving in the Medicine Bow Region.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -
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