The weather around here is notoriously changeable, but what’s going on in parts of the West might qualify as hallucinatory.
After fire-danger alerts and two days of 90-plus readings in Cheyenne, Wyo., heavy snow was falling Tuesday with temperatures in the 20s.
“We were in red-flag conditions, and now we are in a winter storm warning,” said Ayesha Wilkinson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne. The warnings also covered parts of Nebraska, Colorado, and Arizona.
In Cheyenne, temperatures had fallen from 86 around 1 p.m. Monday to freezing shortly after midnight and down to 27 at midmorning.
No measurable snow had fallen in Cheyenne in the first 10 days of September since 1929, according to weather service records.
Up to seven inches was reported in the Nebraska Panhandle (more than 20 times what fell in Philadelphia all last winter), Wilkinson said, and the forecast was calling for the snow to continue into the night with five to 10 inches possible, maybe more in the higher elevations.
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, it was 29 degrees in Cheyenne, or about 50 degrees below the long-term normal. Wilkinson said a cold front had crashed through and that Cheyenne and environs ended up on the western, or cold side of a developing storm.
Winds circulate counterclockwise around storm centers, and Cheyenne was getting stinging winds from the north, with gusts as high as 58 mph reported.
Wilkinson said that the storm has had some positive effects, erasing the fire danger and routing the haze over the region.
Unfortunately, the wildfires to the west have raged on.