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Winter so far has been a series of ups and downs. We’ve had a few good dumps of snow interspersed with longer stretches of dry weather followed by alternating brief storms and brief periods of high pressure.

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As the year draws to a close it’s time to reflect upon all that has transpired over the last 12 months. While the coronavirus pandemic created unusual circumstances that affected many aspects of our lives in 2020, one thing it did not affect was the weather. The weather can be unusual all by…

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Winter officially began Dec. 1. The meteorological winter, that is. The calendar winter won’t start for another three weeks, on Dec. 21, with the winter solstice. The reality is, it feels like we have already been in winter mode for two months here in Jackson Hole.

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Over the course of nearly 30 years forecasting the weather in Jackson Hole, I’ve made a few observations. Not just about the weather, but about people’s attitudes toward the weather, especially when it comes to winter weather and snow.

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It is that time of year we should be thinking about preparing for winter. When it is still warm and sunny, we probably don’t think about it. Once we get that first snowstorm that greases the roadways or requires a shovel to get out of your driveway, we do.

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Fall weather can be unusual, as we saw this past September. I don’t blame it on the fact that it is 2020 and everything seems abnormal. To see just how abnormal it can get this time of year, we need only look back to last October.

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As high pressure built a semipermanent home over the western United States during the first couple of weeks in August, temperatures rose, as they often do this time of year. Very warm weather and little to no precipitation resulted in a rapidly developing and dangerous fire season.

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After a cooler-than-normal June in Jackson Hole, I optimistically floated the idea of seeing a warmer July. That was based on the outlook issued in mid-May by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which foretold a warmer-than-normal summer for our region.

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We went almost three weeks in July without any measurable precipitation in Jackson. And then last Wednesday night we received almost one-tenth of an inch of rain in town, along with a few thunderstorms. That was courtesy of the summer monsoon.