Police tape lines the perimeter of City Park in Lander on Sept. 9, 2020, demarcating a large area officials closed after snowfall damaged trees. (Katie Klingsporn/WyoFile)

From blistering heat to garden-zapping temperatures, Wyoming’s notoriously capricious weather swung wildly this week with the arrival of an early winter storm. 

Wet snow and high winds that moved in Labor Day closed roads, caused power outages and downed trees across the state — just two days after temperatures registered in the high 90s in many areas. 

In Lander, where temperatures plummeted to record lows and 6 inches of snow fell, the storm damaged trees all over town. Deciduous species like cottonwoods — still holding their full complement of leaves — lost branches or split, and branches were strewn in yards and streets. Officials closed most of City Park, where falling branches threatened passersby. 

Fierce winds also contributed to damage. The Rock Springs Airport clocked the strongest gust at 86 mph — Category 1 hurricane level. Winds hit 68 mph in Farson, 52 in Superior and 48 in Worland, according to the National Weather Service.

Power outages darkened buildings in many towns and emergency responders were busy responding to calls of property damage, downed trees and crashes. Residents, meanwhile, scrambled to locate long-stored winter coats, shovel sidewalks and clear snow from trees. 

Support Wyoming photography — donate to WyoFile today

Casper Mountain reported 17 inches of snow, and officials temporarily closed several highways, including Interstate 80. In Jackson, only a dusting fell, but winds of up to 48 mph downed mature trees and cut power to much of Grand Teton National Park. 

Though gardens around the state are undoubtedly suffering from the shock of winter’s premature visit, summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22.

Avatar photo

Katie Klingsporn

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

Leave a comment

Want to join the discussion? Fantastic, here are the ground rules: * Provide your full name — no pseudonyms. WyoFile stands behind everything we publish and expects commenters to do the same. * No personal attacks, profanity, discriminatory language or threats. Keep it clean, civil and on topic. *WyoFile does not fact check every comment but, when noticed, submissions containing clear misinformation, demonstrably false statements of fact or links to sites trafficking in such will not be posted. *Individual commenters are limited to three comments per story, including replies.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *