Record snowfall across much of north central Montana

Along with record cold – Not just daily records, mind you, but for the entire month.

THU MAR 1 2018

(Excerpts) … February 2018 and Winter Seasonal Weather Summary for North Central and Southwest Montana

Regular storms during the first 20 days of the month brought heavier than normal precipitation and snowfall, causing record snows across much of north central Montana.

There were several days of blizzard conditions along the Rocky Mountain Front…. This caused roads to be closed and blocked for several days near the end of the month over portions of the northern Rocky Mountain Front.

February temperatures below normal across the area

Departures from normal of as much as 20F below normal were observed over the Hi Line. Smallest departures from normal (near zero) were over western Beaverhead County. Chinook had the lowest February average with -1.3F, while Ennis recorded the warmest average at 22.4F. Departures from normal ranged from near zero at Wisdom to -20.8 at Havre.

The warmest area temperature was 55F at Whitehall on the 2nd. This was the coolest area February maximum temperature since 1969.

A -46F low was observed 31 miles north of Havre on the 12th. This was the coldest temperature in Montana in February since 2014. On the 10th, a wind chill of -68F was observed 29 miles north of Hingham with an air temperature of -39F and an east wind of 13 mph.

Temperatures were as much as 45 degrees below normal on the 12th, while another round of cold on the 20th and 21st that pushed departures to 35 degrees below normal.

Daily record lows

On the 19th, Dillon dropped to -13F, exceeding the record of -12 set in 1955. On the 20th, Dillon and Bozeman set new daily minimum records. Bozeman fell to -20 and Dillon dropped to -24. On the 21st, Dillon set a new record low of -15F. Their old record was -10 set in 1957. West Yellowstone fell to -34F, breaking the old record of -32 set in in 53.

The highest temperature at Havre for February was only 38F. This was their 4th lowest…highest temperature recorded in any February. The last time that a high of only 38F or lower was recorded in February was in 1969.

The area’s composite average temperature was 11.9F, the 12th coolest February of record and the coolest since 1989.

Wettest February since 1936

The area with the greatest positive departure from normal was along the Hi Line. The highest precipitation values were 9.30-inches at Mount Lockhart SNOTEL, 8.10-inches at Many Glacier SNOTEL and 5.99-inches at East Glacier.

Cut Bank recorded their wettest February of record, exceeding the old record of 1.10-inches set in 1904. Havre also set a February record with 1.66-inches. Their old record was 1.47-inches in 1988. Dillon had their wettest February since 2007 and Lewistown had their wettest since 1979.

Precipitation averaged 1.35-inches across the area. This is the 2nd wettest of record and the wettest since 1936.

Snowiest February on record

Record amounts of snow fell across most of north central Montana. Cut Bank had their snowiest February of record, exceeding the old record of 15.6 inches set in 1958. Great Falls tied February 2011 for the snowiest February of record. This month now ranks third highest in snow for any month. Havre set a new February snowfall record of 31.8″. Their old February record was 18.6-inches in 1978. East Glacier had 78″ for February. This breaks the February record of 72.5″ set last year.

The area’s average February snowfall was 21.5-inches, the snowiest of record, exceeding the previous record of 21.4″ set in 2011.

Winter (Dec – Feb ) Summary

For the past winter season, temperatures averaged below normal, up to 6 degrees. January was above normal, with December and February below normal. The regional composite average temperature of 17.5F (average is 21.8F) was cooler than average, and similar to last year’s 17.1F.

This winter was the 28th coolest of record and the coolest since last winter. Precipitation averaged 3.39-inches across the area. This is the 6th wettest of record and the wettest since 1996-97.

Although January had lower than normal snowfall, the area average for the winter is 50.8″, 18.3″ above normal. This is the 4th highest of record and snowiest since 2010-11.

Water-Year (Oct – Feb ) Summary

For the water year, the average temperature is 24.9F, the 26th coolest of record. This has been the coolest water year (through February) since 2001.

Precipitation averaged 5.51-inches, which is the 9th wettest of record and the wettest since 2017. Cut Bank has recorded their 3rd wettest water year (so far) and their wettest since 1918. Havre has had their wettest water year, breaking the old record set in 1884.

The water year average snowfall is 68.3-inches, 22.8-inches above normal. This is the 3rd snowiest of record and the most water-year snowfall since 2011. Cut Bank had 58.5″ this water year, their second highest total. Bozeman MSU has had 109″ this water year, their snowiest of record…to date. Havre has had 78.8″ for the water-year to date. This is a new record to this point. The old record was 68.6″ in 1978. East Glacier has had 242.5″ for the season, which is their second snowiest of record, at this point. The record was set in 1971-2.

Thanks to Kenneth Lund for this link

“Looks like they didn’t bother to mention the Blackfeet Reservation on their winter summary, which was 50 inches above normal!” says Kenneth

1 thought on “Record snowfall across much of north central Montana

  1. Snow a thing of the past??? Doesn’t look like it! This is all part of the upcoming ice age cycle.

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