The Worst Weather in Cheyenne Frontier Days History
Cheyenne Frontier Days is no stranger to a thunderstorm. Some afternoon thunder, lightning, and maybe a bit of hail aren't out of the question in late July in Cheyenne, Wyoming. However, the run-of-the-mill storms that usually pass over the Daddy of 'Em All pale in comparison to some of the biggest storms to rock CFD.
"Two of the largest events that we've ever experienced in Cheyenne's history occurred on the bookends of Frontier Days," said Chad Hahn, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne.
On July 16, 1979, the most destructive tornado in Wyoming history touched down about three miles northwest of Frontier Park. The F3 tornado moved east across the northern part of Cheyenne, destroying an estimated 200 homes and killing a 14-month-old boy.
"The other event that we look to historically is the August 1, 1985 flash flood," said Hahn. "We had six to seven inches of rainfall, really kind of right over Central High, and it flooded Dry Creek."
Twelve people died in the flood, which caused over $61 million worth of damage.
CFD is also no stranger to hail and damaging winds. Like this storm in 2016, a severe thunderstorm dropped large hail on the last Friday of Frontier Days.
"One to three-inch hail is not out of the norm for those last two weeks of July, nor are wind gusts," said Hahn. "We've had some reports in the '90s of 60 to 70 mph winds occurring during Frontier Days."