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Montana’s Mountain Snowpack Not So Bad

Posted: 6:23 PM, Jan 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 20:36:54-05

Although across much of Montana it feels like snow is below average, the mountains are doing fairly well.  Montana’s river basins range from 80% to 102% of normal for snow-water-equivalent.  As a whole, Montana’s snowpack is at 90% of normal but only 69% of where the state was last winter to date.  Snowpack is like money in the bank that is withdrawn in the spring runoff.  A healthy snowpack can contribute to a less active fire season.  That being said, not much snow is in the forecast for the next week or so.  A new storm will move through Montana on Wednesday with a little snow, freezing rain and rain.  Freezing rain is the worst because it coats the ground with ice, and it does not take a lot of freezing rain to turn a road surface into an ice skating rink.  That’s exactly the concern on Wednesday morning with only a light amount of snow and freezing rain expected.  By the afternoon, snow and ice will move out of the area and temperatures will warm above freezing.  So…the morning commute will be worse than the evening.  Temperatures will start out in the 20s and warm into the 30s and 40s for afternoon highs.  Thursday will be a partly cloudy and windy day with highs in the 30s and 40s.  On Friday the weather will begin to change once again.  High pressure will develop for all of Montana, resulting in different weather for the mountains, valleys and prairies.  Everyone everywhere will have a sunny weekend.  The valleys will likely be the coldest with inversions keeping temperatures in the 20s and 30s for highs.  The mountains will warm into the 30s.  The warmest locations will be out over the prairies with highs in the 40s to around 50 all the way through Monday.  By Tuesday temperatures will cool back down but little to no snow is in the forecast until the end of next week.

Curtis Grevenitz