DENVER -- "Don't like the weather? Just wait 5 minutes…"
It's an adage repeated across the nation when locals describe rapid weather changes that invariably come through their region. But while every spot on the planet will eventually see a radical change in the weather at some point, it can happen as often as twice a day for some places in the nation.
Alaska climatologist Brian Brettschneider has researched weather data across the nation to sleuth out how often temperatures will change 5 degrees or more within 5 minutes.
He found that if you live in the Rocky Mountain areas, good luck getting dressed each day. Many stations across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and into western Montana and eastern Idaho will see such swings daily, on average. Some stations, like Denver, averaged over 700 instances a year of 5-degree swings – or roughly occurring twice a day.
And then there is Wyoming, where two towns experienced a 5-degree shift in 5 minutes over 1,000 times. Sheridan averaged 1,095 such swings in a year, while Lander was right at 1,000.
On the other hand, if you're around Seattle or parts of Michigan, you're pretty much stuck with what you have – at least for the time being. Seattle and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, only register, on average, 11 instances in which there is a quick and drastic temperature shift.
Brettschneider found that a vast majority of the temperature swings were drops of 5 degrees or more, not rises.
He said the data "makes sense because if it's 90 degrees and a rain shower comes through, it's very probable the temperature will quickly drop."