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Anomalously cold temperatures and summer snow hit Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado

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A cold front has started dumping unseasonal record snow in parts of the Western U.S. over the weekend, including in Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that an anomalously cold and vigorous upper trough for early June is moving through the western U.S. and northern Plains, posing threat for severe weather.

A frost advisory is in effect today in southeastern Idaho and Nevada's north and northeastern portions. A winter weather advisory and freeze warning are in place for parts of Colorado and Utah. NWS advised people to protect crops, plants, and other vegetation by covering them up or bringing inside where possible. 

In Nevada, temperatures dropped to 10 °C (50 °F) by Sunday, June 7, said NWS, with parts of Spring Creek hit by multiple bouts of snow.

A record daily snowfall of 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) was set at Winnemucca Airport on the same day, breaking the previous daily record set in 1877. Another daily snowfall record was set at Elko Airport, tying with the record set in 1979.

The cold front packed winds as high as 107 km/h (67 mph) in the Ruby Valley, east of Elko.

From Friday night to Monday morning, June 5 to 8, up to 23 cm (9 inches) of snow was registered in Bear Creek, NWS wrote.

The weather agency noted that snow in the region is highly unusual for June and that people who may be camping are likely unprepared for such conditions. Frozen precipitation usually ends in May across the area.

In Montana, data from Butte showed that June snow was greater than 2.5 cm (1 inch), which has only happened 10 times since 1894. Snow continued to fall into Monday, June 8 as well as in parts of Idaho.

More than 18 cm (7 inches) of snow fell in Bogus Basin, the NWS Boise confirmed, with local reports noting that it was an unusual sight after the start of meteorological summer.

By Monday morning, snow in the area reached up to 20 cm (8 inches), while Tamarack had 0.4 m (1.3 feet), and Brundage 0.3 m (0.9 feet).

In Utah, at least 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) of snow fell in the Alta Ski area by mid-morning Monday, while Brighton reported 16.5 cm (6.5 inches).

A snowstorm also caused winter-like driving conditions for a few hours in the Cottonwood Canyons. Residents were warned of debris in the road following several mudslides and rockslides. Authorities deployed snowplows to both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons for clearing operations.

"I’d like to say it’s a normal winter day in the canyon but the problem is it’s June," said Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson John Gleason.

"It is something that we deal with from time to time and our plows are always ready to go," he added.

In Colorado, up to 11 cm (4.5 inches) of accumulated snow was recorded in Divide from June 8 to 9.

 

A frost advisory is in effect in southeastern Idaho and Nevada's north and northeastern portions on June 9. A winter weather advisory and freeze warning are in place for parts of Colorado and Utah.

NWS advised people to protect crops, plants, and other vegetation by covering them up or bringing inside where possible. 

"Strong to severe thunderstorms are occurring across northern Plains behind the sharp front, snow will continue for a while over central Colorado before a low-pressure system quickly forms over the central Plains," NWS stated.

This will bring "a quick burst of strong gusty winds, heavy showers, and possibly thunderstorms for the central High Plains later today."

Featured image credit: NWS Boise Idaho

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2 Comments

  1. Dr Tim Ball – Historical Climatologist
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