Climate change is causing temperatures to rise, fanning the flames of wildfires across the region. But when it comes to extreme weather in the region, there’s a new kid on the block — tornados.
In June, photographs of an especially picturesque tornado went viral. The twister was called the tornado of the year by the Washington Post. But instead of happening in the usual twister hotspots like Oklahoma, it touched down in southeastern Wyoming.
Meteorologist Bill Mokry with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne said tornados are becoming more common in Wyoming and Colorado.
"For the stretch of the last 10 days, we have issued more severe weather warnings, including tornado warnings, than in the previous 9 years before," said Mokry.
That includes large hail and flash flooding, too. But Mokry said people should take advantage of the stretch of calmer weather in the forecast.
"It's great time to always kind of review what preparations that you have, and any sort of emergency plans that you would take in the event of a tornado, or flooding," said Mokry.
He also said more research needs to be done in order to know what’s behind the increased severe weather.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.