NOAA/NWS Cheyenne, Wyoming Station Digest
The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Cheyenne, WY is located at 1301 Airport Parkway on the south side of the Cheyenne Airport in the center of the city. WFO Cheyenne moved to its current address on August 18, 1993 from a previous location just 1,200 feet to the northwest. Cheyenne is the state capital of Wyoming and also the county seat for Laramie County. WFO Cheyenne sits at an elevation of 6,125 ft making it the second highest NWS office in the United States behind Flagstaff, AZ.
The first Cheyenne weather station was established by the War Department, Signal Service, U.S. Army, Division of Telegrams and Reports for Commerce. The weather station was established on October 19, 1870, and was located on 16th Street between Ferguson Street (now Carey Avenue) and Hill Street (now Capitol Avenue) on the 2nd floor.
The Cheyenne Weather Forecast Office (WFO) serves seven counties in southeast Wyoming (Converse, Niobrara, Carbon, Albany, Platte, Goshen and Laramie) and eight counties in western Nebraska (Sioux, Dawes, Box Butte, Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Banner, Kimball and Cheyenne). The total County Warning Area (CWA) population is approximately 254,000 and covers 35,813 sq miles. 31% of Wyoming’s population lives within the Cheyenne CWA.
The Cheyenne office team has 23 staff members dedicated to the mission of the NWS to provide weather, hydrologic and climate forecasts and warnings for the United State, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property, and enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.
WFO Cheyenne is staffed 24/7 to provide Decision Support Services for our customers and partners for weather hazards and impacts. WFO Cheyenne issues watch, warning and advisory products as well as hydrologic, climate and forecast products for 28 forecast zones. Fire weather program responsibility includes 13 forecast zones. Terminal Aviation Forecasts (TAFs) are issued for seven airports: Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, Alliance, Chadron, Scottsbluff and Sidney. The NOAA All Hazards radio broadcasts over six transmitters across the CWA, and Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) are located at nine observation sites. WFO Cheyenne also has a large Cooperative Observation Program (COOP) network comprised of 76 observation sites.
Cheyenne is Wyoming’s largest city with a 2010 population of 57,618. Wyoming is the least populated state with 563,626 people. Cheyenne is a city dependent on government employment with state, county, city and federal workers. Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, located west of Cheyenne, is the home of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing and Headquarters for the 20th Air Force. Cheyenne offers a diverse economic base with newly discovered oil and natural gas reserves in the region. Cheyenne’s high elevation near the Rocky Mountains makes it one of the windiest cities in the United States. Numerous wind farms are located around the area as a growing source of alternative energy.
Cheyenne is classified as a semi-arid continental climate with large diurnal temperature ranges due to its high elevation. January is the coldest month with the average high 37.7 degrees and the average low 15.9 degrees. July is the warmest month with the average high 82.2 degrees and the average low 54.4 degrees. Temperature ranges can be extreme with Cheyenne’s all-time record high 100 degrees and record low 38 degrees below zero.
Cheyenne averages 241 sunny days per year with low relative humidity. The growing season in Cheyenne over the past 40 years averaged 138 days per year with the first freeze on September 28th and last freeze on May 13th. Cheyenne is one of the top ten windiest cities in the United States with an average wind speed of 12.1 mph. This also makes Cheyenne one of the top ten cities in the U.S. for good air quality.
Average annual precipitation is 15.94 inches with an average annual snowfall of 60.3 inches. The wettest months are May and June with 2.34 inches, and the driest month is January with 0.33 inches. The snowiest month is March with 11.3 inches.
Transportation and Shopping
Cheyenne is a leading transportation hub located at the intersection of Interstates 80 and 25. Burlington Northern/Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads remain a major economic force in the area, and both Lowes and Wal-Mart operate regional distribution centers in Cheyenne. Air transportation is available via the Cheyenne Regional Airport and Cheyenne serves as the headquarters for Great Lakes Airlines. Great Lakes Airlines offers daily flights to Denver and American Airlines offers daily direct flights to Dallas-Fort Worth. Cheyenne does have a local city bus service and numerous shuttle/taxi services. In the realm of shopping and dining, there are over 200 restaurants, numerous major shopping chains and the Frontier Mall.
Cost of Living
The median household income in Laramie County was $56,193 in 2008 with annual property taxes averaging $722 per $100,000 for a home in Cheyenne. The housing market is robust and moderately priced with median home prices from $150,000 to $250,000. Wyoming is the least taxed state in the United States, and has no state income tax. Cheyenne has a 6% sales tax and a personal property tax on vehicles.
Health and Education
The Laramie County School District has numerous elementary schools and six junior and senior high schools in its district. Cheyenne is home to Laramie County Community College (LCCC), and is only 50 miles east of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Cheyenne is also close to Colorado State University in Fort Collins (42 mi), and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley (54 mi). Cheyenne has an excellent library system with the Laramie County Library voted one of the top library destinations by USA Today. Cheyenne also has top quality medical care with numerous physicians and is home to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
Cheyenne is located in a prime area for outdoor recreationists and close to several mountain ranges, including the Sierra Madre, Medicine Bow (Snowy Range), and the Laramie Range 30 miles west of Cheyenne. National parks are within a few hours or a day’s drive from Cheyenne, including Rocky Mountain National Park (100 mi), Mount Rushmore National Memorial (260 mi), Grand Teton National Park (415 mi) and Yellowstone National Park (445 mi). The Cheyenne CWA is also home to six state parks, numerous historic sites and four National Wildlife Refuges.
Frontier Days, the "Daddy of 'Em All" and the largest and oldest outdoor rodeo in the United States, is a major draw to the Cheyenne area. During the last few weeks of July each year, the city of Cheyenne supports a ten day celebration complete with activities, exhibits, parades, a rodeo and big name music entertainment. Cheyenne has a beautiful greenway that bisects the city, offering biking and walking trails and numerous parks, including the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. Cheyenne is home to several museums, including the Wyoming State Museum.