A Wintery Summer: Snow In July

November 19, 2018
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July snowmen are a rare endangered species, but they’ve popped up in four states during this wintery summer!

Peritap, Wikimedia

You might not believe it, but it snowed in four states this July! While summer snow in Alaska is hardly unusual (they leave year-round snow in the mountains just to impress the tourists), it was unexpected in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

♪ Dashing through the snow ♫ In July!?

On what is usually the hottest week of the year, a cool front lowered temperatures to the 40°s and dumped snow on the higher elevations. If you were above 10,000 feet at Yellowstone National Park, you had enough to build a snowman.

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Photo Credit: National Park Service. Building a snowman can be a summer activity at Yellowstone National Park!

Summer Snow

Of course, summer snow, while unusual, is not unknown. Last year, Mauna Kea, Hawaii was hit by 1.5 inches of snow on July 17. Stateside, snowfall hit in the Pacific Northwest and as far south as Utah, which normally brags about having “The best snow on Earth,” but didn’t expect it to fall in July.

Numerous mountains in the US and Canada may not have snowfall in July, but they have glaciers and year-round snow lying on the ground. Indeed, Timberline Lodge in Oregon has year-round skiing!

Aside from taking two weeks off in September, Timberline has snow and lifts available all year, the only resort in North America to do so. It’s been open for summertime business since 1956 and specializes in skiing and snowboard camps. After the morning skiing, campers can go hiking, river-rafting, and do other actual summer activities at lower altitudes. It’s an odd business niche—but someone needs to supply snow to the ski addicts during the long summer withdrawal period.

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Photo credit: EncMstr, Wikimedia. Don’t let the flowers fool you—higher up, Timberline has summer snow for year-round skiiers.

Where Is Summer Weather?

Meanwhile, as cold weather punched the western United States, the eastern states baked in the heat. Skiers raced in the snow and sunbathers lolled on the beach debating whether to paddle in the water or work on their tans. This July, you can choose to hit the slopes or relax at the beach. Make your choice and enjoy!

About This Blog

The column, “Weather Whispers,” is authored by James Garriss and Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologists and weather addicts!  Whether you enjoy the science of weather or the fascinating folklore or just fun weather phenomena, it’s probably covered by these weather watchers!

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