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You’re Right- Wyoming Weather Is Weirder Than Most Places

Center For Severe Weather Research Scientists Search For Tornadoes To Study
Getty Images, Drew Angerer

It is the middle of May and after several days of sun and clear skies, blink and it is about to snow. Is this weird?  Most of the rest of the country might think that it is. Why does this happen to Wyoming?

I called weather forecaster Don Day, of and asked him. He says that he tries to be careful not to talk about the weather in terms of “normal.” It is misleading to say today’s temperatures are ‘above normal,’ or ‘below normal.’ That land that we now call Wyoming has been a tropical swamp, it has also been under a mile of ice many times. “What is normal,” Don Day explains, “is an ever changing and fluctuating climate.”

So then does Wyoming’s weather change unexpectedly more often that other parts of the country.]? In fact, it does. ‘If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes,’ is the old joke. Don explained that our location on the North American continent, plus the flow of the jet streams above us, have a lot to do with it. Then add in our higher altitude and various mountain chains and it all adds to a mix of churning conditions that is hard to predict.

If you are still wondering why we have snow in May, June and July, blame the jet stream grabbing cold arctic air in the middle of summer and whisking it down our way. That gets mixed up in our mountain chains and there you have a later spring or mid-summer snow storm.

“But don’t worry,” says Don. “Give it a few hundred million years and Wyoming will be much farther south, and we won’t need to worry about it anymore.

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