HELENA — There’s the old saying “April showers bring May flowers,” but if you've been out in the hills of Montana, where are the wildflowers?
Typically our hillsides are full of full blooming arrowleaf, balsamroot, sagebrush buttercups, glacier lily and shooting stars. Normally trees and grasses have turned green. While in recent days the bloom is beginning to occur, there is a delay of a couple of weeks compared to the last few years.
For the reason of the predicament, people need to look no further than April weather.
For the month of April, much of Montana was consistently cooler and cloudier than normal. Besides a brief warm start and end to the month, the heart of April temperatures were well below normal. Precipitation was slightly below normal to near average for most of the central and western areas.
Wildflowers and other foliage usually rely on strong weather signals to wake up and know when it's time to bloom. Some of those signals are usually a stretch of warm, sunny weather after healthy precipitation which did not happen. In fact, record cold, snow and even freezing drizzle occurred around the 18th to the 22nd of April, right about the time when these flowers and plants climatologically begin to pop.