- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Take your pick this winter, Wyoming: cold or wind.

December’s arctic blast brought temperatures 20 degrees or more below zero. Then came January, the windiest month in Cheyenne in five years. Winds averaged 15.9 mph and gusted above 20 mph on all but two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Casper was almost as windy at 15.5 mph. Along with Amarillo, Texas, Cheyenne and Casper are among the three windiest cities in the Lower 48, and January is Wyoming’s windiest time of year.

Now, the wind has stopped. The cold is back. Temperatures in several cities early Wednesday plunged to 20 or more below zero and kept well below zero throughout the day.

As it turns out, an inverse relationship often exists between cold and wind in Wyoming, said Zach Finch, a Weather Service forecaster in Cheyenne.

“When it’s windy around here, oftentimes the wind is coming from the west,” Finch said. “When you’ve got west winds, it’s going down the slope and those downslope winds are warmer.”

Those winds are warmer because they increase air pressure, he said.

Barely a breath of wind stirred in Cheyenne on Wednesday, but the Wyoming Highway Patrol was out helping truck drivers with gelled diesel fuel.

Sometimes truck drivers fuel up in warmer areas with diesel fuel blended for warmer driving conditions. They get to Wyoming and their fuel doesn’t flow well in cold weather, said Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Stephen Townsend.

“Once inside of a warm shop, they’ll address that problem,” he said.

He suggested that motorists of all types keep at least half a tank of gas in their vehicles so they can keep running the heat if they get stranded. Dialing #HELP will contact a dispatcher who can send for help.

The Weather Service says the Arctic air will stick around for another couple of days before temperatures return to near normal this weekend.

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Follow Mead Gruver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

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