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Fire and Severe Weather Threats Rise for Tuesday Afternoon

June 8th, 2021
Tuesday afternoon is full of weather hazards in the Cowboy State as powerful winds from...
Tuesday afternoon is full of weather hazards in the Cowboy State as powerful winds from different directions in the south are fueling both wildfire and severe weather threats.(KGWN)
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 12:04 PM CDT
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Rain is something that Wyoming continues to see a need for in order to alleviate drought conditions and limit the threat of wildfires. Unfortunately it has been hard to come by since the calendar flipped from May to June, and when there have been opportunities they have been limited and the storms that bring them strong to severe. Today is no different in that regard with only a small portion of the state expecting to see any storm activity, and wind from the south-southeast bringing in warm, moist air all the way from the Gulf of Mexico is fueling the potential for severe storms. At the same time a large portion of the state will be dealing with strong, dry winds to accompany the heat this afternoon fueling a fire weather threat.

The summer heat combined with warm moist air from south-southeast winds has escalated the...
The summer heat combined with warm moist air from south-southeast winds has escalated the threat for severe weather Tuesday afternoon in the far eastern counties of Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle.(KGWN)

Let’s start with the severe threat. The SPC has issued a Level 2 “Slight” Risk for severe weather in the eastern portions of Crook, Weston, Niobrara, Goshen, and Laramie Counties with the Level 1 Marginal Risk including the western half of the aforementioned counties. The primary risks will be strong wind gusts and hail, with an isolated tornado threat possible for those in the Slight Risk zone. The Panhandle of Nebraska is also included in the Slight Risk zone. These storms could be limited in rain potential, especially the ones further west in places like Cheyenne or Douglas. Timing looks to be during the evening hours, peaking between 6:00 and 8:00 pm when most of us are sitting down for dinner. They should clear out with the clouds as the overnight hours arrive.

The fire threat zone is much more expansive as it includes all of Central Wyoming along with much of Southern Wyoming and parts of Northern Wyoming. Today is the first Level 2 “Critical” Risk seen so far this year in the Cowboy State when it comes to wildfire potential. The eastern half of Sweetwater County is included along with parts of Western Carbon County, Southeastern Fremont County, and much of Western Natrona County. Casper itself is not in the Critical Risk zone, however Rawlins and Green River are in Carbon and Sweetwater Counties respectively. Lander is on the border of the Critical and Elevated Risk zones for wildfires this afternoon, so technically it is included as well. Casper, Riverton, Rock Springs, Evanston, Buffalo, Thermopolis, and Worland are all included in the Level 1 “Elevated” Risk zone with Gillette on the very edge of it. Temperatures in the upper 80s and into the mid 90s along with dry winds from the southwest with sustained speeds over 25 mph are fueling the wildfire threat this afternoon.

Powerful winds from the southwest bringing in hot and dry air are fueling a wildfire threat in...
Powerful winds from the southwest bringing in hot and dry air are fueling a wildfire threat in much of Central and Southern Wyoming as the summer heat wave continues through the second week of June.(KGWN)

Overnight tonight the wind will calm across the state and for most of us remain that way tomorrow as well, greatly reducing the fire threat before more wind returns Thursday. However, Rock Springs and western Sweetwater County will continue to see sustained wind speeds over 20 mph on Wednesday afternoon, prompting them to once again be under the Elevated Risk zone for wildfires.

The heat wave looks to remain through the work week until Friday when things will cool off for a day as highs drop back into the lower 80s and upper 70s thanks to a late week cold front that will shift wind directions from the south to the west and northwest. The heat will return again over the weekend, however less wind is expected to accompany it at this time.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

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