2013 Climatic Summary for the area

The year 2013 for this region saw temperatures that were overall generally close to normal.   Precipitation varied from above normal over some areas to below normal in other areas.      

The year was characterized in general by a warm and dry winter, a mild spring with better precipitation, a warm and rather dry summer, and a cool and very wet fall, especially in September. A surge of bitter cold arctic air arrived in early December and held on for about a week, bringing the coldest temperatures of the year to most areas.
Temperatures:
 

Average temperatures across the region for the year turned out to be generally near normal with most areas within a degree of normal, quite a change from the very warm year seen in 2012. The year’s temperatures started out well above normal, but a couple of cool months in spring and particularly in fall brought the overall average to near normal.
 
The following table summarizes the average annual temperature and its ranking compared to previous years, average daily high and low temperatures and the departures from normal for select sites over the area:

City

2013 Average Temp.

Departure from normal*

2013 Average High Temp.

Departure from normal*

2013 Average Low Temp.

Departure from normal*

Cheyenne

45.8

-0.5

58.2

-0.3

33.4

-0.8

Laramie

40.7

-0.2

54.2

-0.2

27.3

-0.1

Rawlins

42.5

+0.1

55.7

+0.3

29.4

0.0

Chadron

47.4

+0.2

61.4

-1.2

33.5

+1.5

Scottsbluff

49.4

+0.6

64.3

+0.8

34.5

+0.5

Sidney

48.5

-1.6

63.3

-1.0

33.7

-2.3


* based on normals for the period 1981-2010.

The warmest and coldest temperatures of the year and the number of days with highs 90 or higher and lows of zero or lower are depicted for select cities in the following table:

City

Highest Temperature

Date(s)

Lowest Temperature

Date

Number of days with highs 90 or above

Number of days with lows zero or below

Cheyenne

94

August 20+

-19

Dec. 5

20

12

Laramie

93

July 11

-31

Dec. 5

4

32

Rawlins

94

July 11+

-24

Dec. 4

19

27

Chadron

102

August 27

-23

Dec. 6

51

17

Scottsbluff

102

September 6

-17

Dec. 5

60

13

Sidney

102

September 6

-11

Jan. 15

59

11


 + Last of several occurrences


Precipitation:

Precipitation across the area turned out to be generally below normal over the southern Nebraska Panhandle while over the northern Panhandle and most of southeast Wyoming precipitation ended up above normal. It should be noted that a large part of the precipitation fell in the fall, with September being one of the wettest months of any month of any year in some areas, such as Cheyenne where almost 7 inches (6.95) fell, constituting just over 38% of the annual total there.   
The following table tabulates the 2013 precipitation and snowfall amounts. The departures from average and the percent of normal are also included:
City
2013 precipitation  
Departure from normal*
2013 Snowfall
Departure from normal*
Cheyenne
18.18
+2.24 (114%)
87.4”
+27.1”
Laramie
12.57
+1.65 (115%)
----
----
Rawlins
8.55
-0.70 (92%)
----
----
Chadron
19.76
+1.71 (109.5%)
----
----
Scottsbluff
13.37
-2.42 (84.7%)
53.2”
+11.1”
Sidney
16.94
-1.60 (91.4%)
----
----
* based on normals for the period 1981-2010
Drought conditions improved markedly across the region
The extreme dryness experienced across the area during 2012 continued into 2013. Some improvement occurred in spring but much of the region was still experiencing severe to extreme drought through the summer. Fall brought about widespread and significant improvement due to the generous rains seen at that time with some areas seeing drought conditions going from exceptionally dry to complete ending of drought.  The following images depict this large change in drought status across the region:   

                
 January 1, 2013 Drought status           December 31, 2013 Drought status

 

 

Other Notable Weather Events during 2013:
- Heavy springtime snows fell over parts of the area during April, with Cheyenne recording 37.6 inches of snowfall that month, the 4th snowiest April on record there.

- First severe thunderstorm event over the area occurred on April 21st when a thunderstorm produced some large hail west of Hemingford, Nebraska.
- Most significant severe events of the season occurred over far southeastern Wyoming into the southern Nebraska Panhandle on June 21st and 22nd. Large hail fell over parts of the area both days while several tornadoes were reported. Only minor damage occurred as the tornadoes remained over open areas.
- Last severe thunderstorm event was on September 9th with a microburst occurring around Sidney, Nebraska. Winds up to 78 mph were recorded, which produced widespread power outages in Sidney due to trees and power poles having been blown down.  

- A somewhat early snow fell across much of the area on October 4th with a general 3 to 6 inches measured in some areas of the plains.

- A very strong arctic cold front passed across the area December 3rd plunging temperatures to below zero by late on the 4th. The bitter cold temperatures persisted through the 9th before moderating on the 10th. This was the coldest outbreak seen in early December for many areas since 1972.



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