Weather Blog

Gee, what to wear in Stanley, Idaho?

Gee, what to wear in Stanley, Idaho?
During the summer around here, dressing in layers might mean you wear a hat over your sunglasses. But in Stanley, Idaho, they take dressing in layers to a whole new level!

Saturday, that town of Stanley, elevation 6,270 feet, set a record low of 25 degrees. But later that day, the temperature climbed all the way to 80 degrees!  Once the sun came up, the temperature was rising some 8-9 degrees an hour in the morning.

Large temperature swings are actually not all that uncommon in rural areas where there is dry air and the right kind of vegetation on the ground.  The hot summer sun does a great job in heating up the ground, but then at night, the ground does a great job of radiating the heat back into space, allowing the temperature to plummet.  But even in some populated areas where you have the right regional topography and weather pattern, the temperature can range quite a but during the day.

I was in Denver in late January once, and it was strange on their extended forecast to see a high of 53 with a snowflake on the graphic -- because the expected low was 23 and there was some morning moisture that would begin as snow. I was going to find a good example from today in the desert Southwest, where they can frequently get 50+ degree swings between highs and lows. But they're in their monsoon season, so the clouds are keeping temperatures down during the day and up at night.  But at least in the desert, you might be talking the difference between 105 and 55 -- still warm enough not to have to dig out the heavy jacket in the morning.

The reason why places like Seattle and Portland do not get those wide swings is that the city's concrete and asphalt helps absorb the day's heat and then does a better job of slowly releasing that heat overnight -- known as the urban heating effect. It's also not as dry here and humidity will also hold temperatures up a bit.