Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hate The Heat? Go To Montana. Or Oregon

A web cam showed snow atop Lone Peak
in Montana last July. Similar scenes are
possible later today and Monday  
Today is hot and dry, or hot and terribly humid in most of the United States, depending on where you are.

If you want some relief, you should either be in New England, where it is (temporarily) cool, but not ridiculously so.

Or if you want to really get nice and chilled head to the Pacific Northwest or northern Rockies. Especially if you like frost and snow.

Yes. In July.

Parts of central Oregon are under a frost advisory tonight as an unseasonably chilly air mass sweeps through.

Web cams this morning showed snow along the rim of Crater Lake, Oregon, which is at about 6,800 feet above sea level.

The chilly air is spreading into the northern Rockies, where snow is forecast in the high spots in Montana, including Glacier National Park.

Park officials are warning visitors to watch out for hypothermia because of the cold and snow at elevations above 6,500 feet, and a cold, sometimes heavy rain at lower elevations.

It's somewhat unusual to have this level of cold in this part of the country in July, but it's most certainly not unheard of. It snowed in many of the same areas last July, for instance.

The cold weather in the Northern Rockies is being brought on by an unusually strong storm over southwestern Canada.  Low pressure systems tend to be weak in July, but not this one.

It's strong winds are propelling cold air from way  north in Canada to make it into the Pacific Northwest.

The strong storm with its wind is teaming up with hot air to the south to cause a wide variety of other weather troubles in the Rockies and Plains states.

Much of the southern and central Rockies and parts of the High Plains are under a fire weather alert today as strong winds, hot temperatures and very low humidities (caused mainly by the contrast between the cold storm in Canada and the hot ridge of high pressure to the south) will make any spark turn into a conflagration.

If you're a careless smoker, stay out of these areas as temperatures reach the 90s, the relative humidty drops below 10 percent and winds gust to 55 mph in parts of the Rockies.

The storm system is also threatening to cause a severe weather outbreak later this Sunday in extreme eastern Montana, most of the Dakotas and western Minnesota today.  These areas might get huge hail, strong winds and maybe a few tornadoes.

For all you summer lovers, it will warm up to near normal in the northern Rockies during the week. The heat that's gripping most of the nation will continue. The brief cool spell in New England will be replaced by heat and humidity later this week.

It is July, after all.

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