Extreme Winds are Back
October 14th, 2020
Strong winds returned to Wyoming on Sunday, and for some parts of the state they have not stopped since then. Other locations have seen the winds shift from windy to breezy as the week has progressed. The pattern is shifting over the western U.S. as we hit the midpoint of October. Throughout most of September and the first part of this month, temperatures have been well above average for this time of year with extremely dry conditions, which prompted several days of Red Flag Warnings across the state. The Mullen Fire also started on September 17th, and is now 176,371 acres with 34% containment. The Mullen Fire’s days may be numbered, however.
For today the majority of Wyoming is under a High Wind Warning until 6:00 PM. These are the most widespread High Wind Warnings the state has seen since last winter. Wind speeds of 35+ mph are expected in multiple locations, and gusts over 75mph are possible for many this afternoon as well. The primary reason for this is a tight height gradient over the Cowboy State as the jet stream dips southward into the Central US. The other reason is a cold front that is passing through the state. This cold front is bringing widespread light rain to the eastern half of Wyoming as well as temperatures below average for this time of year. Any lingering rain showers from today into tonight will shift into snow showers as temperatures around the state bottom out in the lower to mid 20s by Thursday morning. The last cold front that came this past weekend brought snow and cold temperatures to the snowy range where the Mullen Fire is burning. The activity of the fire has not returned to the same level since. This next cold front will continue to limit the fire’s progress, and another cold front is on deck come Saturday.
The winds are not expected to remain this crazy going into the weekend. For today, powerful westerly winds will be blowing some smoke into Laramie and Cheyenne, so the smell of burning may return to those locations temporarily. Winds will shift to the north overnight and calm down, and while breezy conditions are possible on Thursday, they will be pulling in cold, clean air from the north. Temperatures will attempt to rebound come Friday and Saturday ahead of the next cold front. Winds are going to calm a bit on Thursday and for some on Friday, however windy conditions will return this weekend as the next cold front passes through. Temperatures look to be below average for this time of year as the next work week starts. This series of cold fronts and strong winds may just be a sign that the summer warmth has come to an end, and the windy fall/winter season is beginning. A good snowstorm across the state will likely put the Mullen Fire out, and as the pattern shifts the likelihood of one setting up in the near future increases.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -
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