BRIDGER VALLEY — It’s that time of year when the thermometer can dip and the cold can descend on the area, however, when looking at the temperatures east of the Valley, ‘NAH, we aint had it so bad.’
The cold snap that enveloped Wyoming for much of last week broke several records, the National Weather Service reported last Friday. On Friday, Casper's high was minus 5 degrees. That previous coldest high for Feb. 12 was 0 degrees, set in 1949. On Saturday, the city broke a similar record for coldest high temperature with minus 4 degrees, breaking the mark of 11 degrees set in 1949.
Temperatures in Buffalo, meanwhile, were even colder. According to the National Weather Service, they bottomed out at minus 20 degrees on Saturday. That set the all-time low, breaking a mark of minus 1 degree set in 2007.
Other record lows recorded Saturday, according to the weather service, included:
The cold, according to the National Weather Service, was the temperatures in Wyoming broke 70-year records over the weekend, and a few shattered their records.
In other cases, Wyoming towns saw record low high temperatures, meaning the maximum temperature was the lowest since meteorologists began recording such data.
Meanwhile, Buffalo shattered its record low temperature by 19 degrees when a high of -20 was recorded on Saturday. Previously, the record low for Feb. 13 in Buffalo was -1, a record that's stood for 19 years.
According to the weather service, the extreme cold is expected to somewhat relent heading into the week. The bitter cold is caused by the polar vortex that has been a whopper. Meteorologists call it one of the biggest, nastiest and longest-lasting ones they've seen, and they’ve been watching since at least the 1950s.
Around the North Pole, winter’s ultra-cold air is usually kept bottled up 15 to 30 miles high, according to experts. That's the polar vortex, which spins like a whirling top at the top of the planet. But occasionally something slams against the top, sending the cold air escaping from its Arctic home and heading south. That has been the cause of the cold which has enveloped Wyoming and much of the nation lately.
On Tuesday, temperatures were expected to make it up to 32 degrees in Wyoming . Tuesday night, lows dipped to a relatively balmy 13. But the cold hasn’t yet taken a hike out of the area.
That is like the rest of Wyoming, the polar blast had gone down the eastern side of the continental divide and northeast Wyoming and all points east had recorded record colds while the Valley stayed a balmy 20s and 30s degree range.
And, the cold has gone clear to the gulf coast. It was reported Tuesday morning West Texas is in deep trouble as the wind turbines are frozen and they aren’t producing any heat. In addition, the domino effect, has created major problems in northern Mexico. Freezing weather in Texas led to a chain of events that left almost 5 million customers in northern Mexico without power Monday as a shortage of natural gas disrupted electricity production.
And, the western side of Wyoming can attest to the wind that has inundated the state for some time. But much warmer at 20/30 plus degrees with wind than zero or below and wind with the wind chill dropping into the minus 50-minus, minus 60 degree range.