Monday, June 29, 2015

Record Western Heatwave

Jon Erdman and Chris Dolce of the Weather Underground has provided a blog on the ongoing Western U.S. Heatwave

Western Heat Wave Enters History Books; At Least 16 June Record Highs Already Broken (FORECAST)

Jon Erdman 
Published: June 29, 2015

A torrid heat wave has shifted into high gear and has already broken June record highs in at least 16 cities in the Northwest, two of which appear to have tied their all-time record highs. The extreme heat is likely to last well into early July and may end up breaking records for longevity as well.

New Record Highs Set
According to the National Weather Service, at least six locations in Washington state appear to have topped their all-time June record highs on Sunday. 
An unofficial weather station located in Hell's Canyon along the Oregon/Idaho border (Pittsburg Landing) recorded an incredible 116 degrees for a high Sunday. 
The culprit in this hot setup is a dome of high pressure aloft, surging northwestward to encompass a large area of the western states. The center of this high will shift around through the week ahead, but overall it will remain a dominant feature.
This will allow the sizzling late-June and early-July sun to send temperatures soaring not simply in the typically hot Desert Southwest, but also locations well to the north including the Pacific Northwest, interior Northwest and northern Rockies. 

Hot Week Ahead

Highs well into the 90s and triple digits are expected in many lower-elevation locations west of the Continental Divide and inland from the Pacific Coast.

Heat Alerts
This includes much of Nevada, California's Central Valley, the Salt Lake Valley, Idaho's Snake River Plain, much of Oregon's lower elevations east of the immediate coast, and areas to the east of the Cascades in Washington State.
In particular, parts of the Columbia Basin and lower Snake River Valley will see particularly extreme and persistent heat. This includes cities such as Yakima, Kennewick and Walla Walla in Washington as well as Lewiston, Idaho, as noted in the records above. Temperatures will get knocked down a bit into the low 100s to start the new workweek, but will then surge towards the middle or upper 100s again late in the week.
(FORECASTS: Seattle | Portland | Boise | Salt Lake City)
The extreme heat has even surged north into Canada. Cranbrook, in far southeast British Columbia at an elevation of about 3,000 feet, set a new all-time record high of 98 degrees (36.8 degrees Celsius) Sunday, according to The Weather Network. 
Even Revelstoke, British Columbia – 130 miles north of the U.S. border, about 1,500 feet above sea level and better known for skiing – reached an amazing 103 degrees (39.5 degrees Celsius) Sunday.

Current Temperatures
Compared to what the more arid Great Basin is used to, evening and overnight temperatures will be slow to drop, bottoming out in the 70s in the hottest locations.
In that regard, the air mass moving north into the region already has a strong pedigree; Las Vegas recorded a low of 91 on Friday, marking the first time Vegas has ever recorded a daily low in the 90s during the month of June. This happened again Sunday, when the calendar-day low was only 90 degrees. (The previous record-warm daily low in June was 89 on June 29-30, 2003.)
Saturday morning's low at Portland International Airport was 71 degrees. This is the first time PDX has ever recorded a low in the 70s in the month of June.
Wenatchee, Washington, set a June record warm low temperature Sunday, only dipping to 77 degrees. The old June record warm-low temperature, there, was 75 degrees on June 30, 1998.
This heat appears to be locked in place well into the week ahead, as the upper-level dome of high pressure remains camped out near the Great Basin. In fact, many interior Northwest locations may see highs in the 100s every day from now through at least July 10.
(MAPS: 10-Day Temperature Forecasts)

Forecast Highs
The hot, dry weather is also causing a high fire danger, as drought conditions have worsened over the Northwest and northern Rockies in the spring. Disturbances riding around the west side of the upper-level ridge and just enough mid-level moisture may trigger isolated, mainly dry afternoon thunderstorms, which may ignite new wildfires. 
(MORE: Wenatchee, Washington Wildfire)
In mid-May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide drought emergency, and spring runoff from winter's paltry snowpack was expected to be the least in 64 years. 
Seattle has seen only 8 days with measurable rain since May 1, one-third the average number of such days, according to NWS-Seattle. Portland, Oregon, set a new record June dry streak of 24 straight days through Saturday, according to NWS-Portland. 
One of the biggest factors in heat wave deaths is not only the magnitude, but also the longevity of the heat. 
  • Seattle will see highs in the middle 80s to low 90s through the week ahead. They reached the low 90s on Saturday and may see several more days in the low 90s later this week. On average, they typically see the 90-degree mark only three days a year. 
  • Spokane, Washington may see a couple of days with century-mark highs through next weekend. Only one such day a year is the average, there. Even when not in the 100s it will be at least in the middle or upper 90s.
  • Portland, Oregon last saw triple-digit heat in August 2012. They may see at least one, if not more in this heat wave late this coming week. The city may also make a run at its longest streak of 90-degree days; that was a 10-day streak in 2009.
  • Medford, Oregon may tie its record number of June triple-digit days (6 days in 1987, 1970 and 1926) and will likely tie its June record for 90-degree-plus days (21 in 1918).
  • Salt Lake City may see triple-digit highs several days into next weekend. Six days a year reach 100-degrees or hotter in the Salt Lake Valley, on average and as of Monday there have been three days.

Epicenter of the Heat
This is a dangerous heat wave. Take safety precautions against the heat.
Those playing or working outdoors, as well as those without access to air conditioning, will face an elevated risk of heat-related illness. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 25 percent of homes, apartments, condos in the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming do not have air conditioning. 
Remember to never leave kids or pets unattended in cars and drink more water than usual. Wear light-colored clothing and keep your head and body cooler with a hat. Take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.

New Record Highs

Here is a rundown of the June record highs tied or broken Sunday:
  • Walla Walla, Washington, hit 113 degrees. According to Weather Underground weather historian Christopher Burt, if validated this reading will establish a new June record high not just for Walla Walla, but the entire state of Washington. That record is 112 degrees at John Day Dam on June 18, 1961. Of course, Sunday's high also crushed the June record of 109 set just a day earlier, which in turn beat the record of 107 set June 23, 1992.
  • Lewiston, Idaho, reached 111 degrees. This broke the previous June high of 109 set on June 22, 1936. Burt says this too may be a new June record for the state of Idaho, surpassing the 110 degrees recorded at six different locations.
  • Boise, Idaho, topped out at 110 degrees. This replaced the previous June high of 109 set June 19, 1940. It also missed Boise's all-time record high by 1 degree, and was the hottest day in Boise since a high of 110 on Aug. 4, 1961.
  • Ephrata, Washington, hit 110 degrees to break the record of 107 set Saturday. Previously 106 was the June record from June 30, 1998. Sunday goes down as the second-hottest day on record in Ephrata behind the 115 recorded Aug. 4, 1961.
  • Pendleton, Oregon, topped out at 109 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. Those readings broke the city's all-time June record high of 108 set June 30, 1924, and June 17, 1961. June records in Pendleton go back to 1893.
  • Yakima, Washington, reached 108 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. Those broke the previous June high of 105 set June 23, 1992, and just tied earlier in June. Official National Weather Service records for Yakima go as far back as 1946.
  • Spokane, Washington, hit 105 degrees Sunday. That broke a record that had only stood for one day – 102 degrees on Saturday. Before this heat wave the June record had been 101 on June 23, 1992; records in Spokane go all the way back to 1881, making this an especially impressive record. Sunday was also the hottest day in Spokane since Aug. 4, 1961.
  • Kalispell, Montana, hit 102 degrees to crush its June record of 97 degrees just set Saturday. The previous June record was 96 set June 22, 1955, and the previous record for earliest 100-degree day was July 6 back in 2007. Temperature records there began in 1899.
  • Missoula, Montana, saw a high of 102 degrees. This breaks the previous June record high of 101 set Saturday, and marks the first consecutive triple-digit June days, there. Prior to that the June high had been 100 on June 29, 1937 and June 13, 1918. Records date back to 1893.
  • Meacham, Oregon, hit 101 degrees Sunday to set its third consecutive June record high. Saturday's high was 98; Friday's 93 had tied the old record of 93 from June 16, 1961. Sunday's high also beat the daily record for June 28 by a whopping 16 degrees.
Gerard Tangalan Of Seattle leans on International Fountain while cooling off at the Seattle Center July 29, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.
(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
The following record highs for the month of June were broken on Friday and Saturday, not including cities that matched or broke them again Sunday:
  • Burns, Oregon, reached 102 degrees Saturday to break its June record of 100 set June 29, 2008, and June 30, 2013. Records in Burns go back to 1939.
  • Helena, Montana topped out at 103 degrees Saturday, beating its previous June record high of 102 degrees set in 1900. Records date back to 1880.
  • Redmond, Oregon, had a high of 101 degrees Friday to tie the all-time June record originally set there on June 25, 1968.
  • The Dalles, Oregon, tied its June record high Friday when Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, technically across the river inWashington, hit 108 degrees to match the mark set June 22, 1992.
On Monday, new daily record highs were set in Helena, Montana (100 degrees), Idaho Falls, Idaho (101 degrees), and Montague, California (99 degrees).
On Friday, new daily record highs were set in Yakima, Washington (104), Pendleton, Oregon (104), Walla Walla, Washington(105), Medford, Oregon (107), Helena, Montana (98), Eugene, Oregon (98) and Mount Shasta City, California (99). Daily record highs were tied in Seattle (87), Red Bluff, California (108), and Reno, Nevada (100).
Unofficial state-by-state highs Friday included 110 degrees at Grants Pass, Oregon; 109 degrees in Entiat, Washington; 105 degrees in Lowell, Idaho; and 101 degrees at the airport in Plains, Montana, in the far western part of that state.
Daily record highs were tied Thursday in Ely, Nevada (95), South Lake Tahoe, California (90), Olympia, Washington (90), and Bellingham, Washington (83).
(MORE: Earth's Record Year? | How Hot is Too Hot?)
June has already been a hot month in parts of the West.
Medford, Oregon, is pacing for their hottest June on record, dating to 1911. Portland, Oregon, logged its seventh day of 90-degree-plus heat this month on Saturday, breaking the June record of six days set in 2003. Earlier in the month, Yakima,Washington, had tied its all-time June high of 105 degrees. This occurred 15 days earlier on the calendar than the previous June 105-degree high. This record was then beaten on Saturday.
Meteorologist Chris Dolce contributed to this report.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Record Early Last Spring Freeze!

The Riverton Forecast Office has compiled stats on just how warm this Spring has been.

Many locations in the western Wyoming remain on track to have their earliest last spring freeze on record. The average last 'spring' freeze date at these locations is actually in the summer. This year, some locations may have their earliest last freeze in the month of May for the first time on record. There are still about five weeks to go (through July 31st) to make it official, but much above normal to near record high temperatures are forecast into the first few days of July for the west.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Web Cameras added for Star Valley and Teton Valley

Several new web cams have been installed  from Star Valley to Teton Valley.   The cams have been provided by the web site

Within the past month a cam is now located in the West Hills looking east across Afton.
Another webcam is located at the Public Works Building on Star Valley Ranch and looks south toward Lost Creek and Bedford,

At the same  location a webcam looks to the east toward Cedar Creek Canyon

A webcam has been installed near Irwin ID looking east across the South Fork of the Snake River

In the Teton Valley a new webcam at Driggs looks east toward the Tetons.

Lastly a webcam on top of the Targhee Ski Resort provides spectacular views

All of these cams have been added to the

site of  They are available as all other cams on the site  are, for creating time lapse images and updated every minute.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fact-It Is Getting Warmer

Jim Steenburg's blog provided a thought provoking post on the warming climate.

Temperature Records Are Falling

The National Centers for Environmental Information has released the latest climate numbers for May and they are smoking hot.  In fact, last month represents the hottest May in the instrumented record.
Source: NCEI
And the Northern Hemisphere spring (March–May) was also the warmest on record.

Source: NCEI
And globally, January–May was the warmest on record.

Source: NCEI
And also globally, June–May was the warmest on record.

Source: NCEI
In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report entitled Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment.  Some snippets from the executive summary seem appropriate today.
"For more than a century, we have been aware that changes in the composition of the atmosphere could affect its ability to trap the sun's energy for our benefit. We now have incontrovertible evidence that the atmosphere is indeed changing and that we ourselves contribute to that change. Atmsopheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are steadily increasing, and these changes are linked with man's use of fossil fuels and exploitation of land. Since carbon dioxide plays a significant role in the heat budget of the atmosphere, it is reasonable to suppose that continued increases would affect climate."

"These concerns have prompted a number of investigations of the implications of increasing carbon dioxide.  Their consensus has been that increasing carbon dioxide will lead to a warmer earth with a different distribution of climatic regimes."

"If carbon dioxide continues to increase, the study group finds no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible."

"However, the study group points out that the ocean, the great and ponderous flywheel of the global climate system, may be expected to slow the course of observable climate change. A wait-and-see policy may mean waiting until it is too late."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Super Cell Thunderstorm Crosses Star Valley Monday Afternoon

A supercell thunderstorm developed  in southeast Idaho and crossed Star Valley Monday afternoon.  While a tornado warning was issued for the storm ,the primary event was large hail.  Star Valley Ranch reported hail up to the size of golfballs.  A 2nd storm brought more wind and hail a couple hours later as it moved a little further south affecting as far south as Afton.

Here are a couple cam animations made for both storms.  The first is of the supercell that hit Star Valley Ranch and it can clearly be seen the rotating super cell  heading for the cam from Freedom to the Ranch

The second storm was caught on the recently added cam in the hills west of Afton.

Monday, June 8, 2015

May 2015 Rainfall Reports Westen Wyoming

May 2015 was a very wet month for parts of Central and Western Wyoming. However, some places did not benefit from a wet May. The table below provides the May 2015 rainfall totals.
May 2015 Rainfall
CountyStation NameRainfall
Big HornShell2.31
Big HornBasin2.15
Big HornPowell Field Station2.13
Big Horn2 WSW Rairden1.99
Big Horn2 SSW Lovell1.89
Big HornDeaver1.77
Big HornLovell1.68
Big HornEmblem1.46
Big HornGreybull1.41
Big Horn1 W Lovell1.32
Big HornGreybull ASOS1.07
Fremont6 SW Lander9.62
Fremont9 SSE Lander8.29
Fremont7 SE Lander7.71
Fremont9 SSE Lander7.51
Fremont7 WNW Lander7.44
Fremont6 SE Lander6.55
Fremont1 SW Lander6.42
Fremont2 NNE Lander6.31
FremontSweetwater Station6.19
Fremont15 W Jeffrey City6.13
FremontLander ASOS6.10
Fremont7 WNW Morton5.95
FremontAtlantic City5.83
Fremont10 NW Riverton5.00
Fremont16 WNW Kinnear4.96
FremontJeffrey City4.70
FremontRiverton Airport4.61
FremontRiverton ASOS4.55
Fremont2 W Riverton4.22
FremontBoysen Dam4.04
Fremont2 SSW Arapahoe3.99
Fremont10 WNW Dubois2.85
Hot SpringsBlack Mountain6.32
Hot SpringsThermopolis5.30
Hot SpringsThermopolis5.02
Hot SpringsThermopolis4.54
Hot Springs9 NE Thermopolis3.94
Hot Springs3 NE Thermopolis3.74
Hot Springs20 NW Thermopolis3.61
Johnson17 NNW Kaycee8.75
Johnson5 WSW Buffalo7.65
Johnson4 SSW Buffalo6.47
JohnsonBuffalo ASOS5.76
Johnson12 SSE Buffalo5.57
Johnson17 E Kaycee5.47
Johnson7 NE Buffalo4.62
LincolnFossil Butte4.90
Lincoln3 S Fontenelle Dam4.72
Lincoln3 SE Bedford4.56
Lincoln2 SE Thayne4.01
LincolnStar Valley Ranch3.59
Natrona11 WSW Casper8.02
Natrona2 S Casper7.21
Natrona10 WSW Casper6.72
Natrona11 ESE Casper6.34
Natrona1 SW Casper6.27
Natrona4 SW Casper6.24
Natrona4 WSW Casper6.23
Natrona3 WSW Casper5.26
NatronaPowder River5.05
Natrona12 NE Lysite4.79
NatronaPathfinder Dam4.09
NatronaCasper ASOS3.89
Park4 SE Cody5.54
Park3 NE Sunshine4.21
Park2 WSW Cody4.00
Park3 NE Clark3.15
Park26 SW Cody3.10
Park4 SW Powell2.93
Park12 SE Cody2.92
Park5 ESE Cody2.84
Park1 W Powell2.76
Park7 SW Cody2.64
Park4 ENE Powell2.60
Park3 W Wapiti2.52
Park3 N Powell2.17
Sublette15 WNW Daniel3.85
Sublette14 NW Pinedale3.81
SubletteDaniel Fish Hatchery3.74
SubletteBoulder Rearing Station2.36
Sublette13 NE Big Piney2.35
SubletteBig Piney ASOS2.30
Sublette13 SE Pinedale2.15
Sweetwater7 SE Rock Springs5.94
SweetwaterRock Springs4.72
SweetwaterGreen River4.67
SweetwaterRock Springs4.57
SweetwaterRock Springs4.36
SweetwaterRock Springs4.26
Sweetwater4 NNW Rock Springs4.11
SweetwaterRock Springs4.08
Sweetwater8 NNW Rock Springs3.89
Sweetwater4 NE Bitter Creek3.80
Sweetwater5 N Farson3.35
SweetwaterRock Springs ASOS3.10
Sweetwater38 NW Superior2.22
SweetwaterBuckboard Marina2.13
Teton1 NNW Alta4.73
Teton2 NE Teton Village4.59
Teton5 NW Jackson4.42
Teton12 NE Jackson3.99
TetonJackson Dam3.73
Teton4 SW Jackson3.27
TetonDarwin Ranch2.50
Washakie27 S Ten Sleep6.62
Washakie16 SSE Ten Sleep5.47
Washakie4 NE Ten Sleep3.56
Washakie2 NE Worland3.14
WashakieWorland ASOS3.06
WashakieTen Sleep2.89
Washakie5 NNW Ten Sleep2.84
Washakie8 SW Worland2.51
YellowstoneSnake River Ranger Station4.16
YellowstoneOld Faithful Ranger Station3.75
YellowstoneTower Falls Ranger Station3.27
YellowstoneLake Yellowstone ASOS3.11
YellowstoneYellowstone Mammoth3.04
YellowstoneLamar Ranger Station2.96
YellowstoneYellowstone East Entrance2.26