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Entries in Montana heatwave (8)


Montana temperatures to soar mid-week

Rivers will continue to run high this week- Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- After more thunderstorms rumbled across the Northern Rockies to finish the weekend, forecasters are expecting a dramatic rise, and then fall, in temperatures this first full week in June. 

While the northern half of the state was waking up to cloudy skies Monday morning, conditions were rapidly clearing across Southwest and West Central Montana, with highs expected to rebound into the mid to upper 70s. 

But the more dramatic change is still to come.

Forecasts are for many locations, especially in the Western Montana valleys, to climb back into the low-to-mid 80s Tuesday, and then top 90-degrees for the first time this year on Wednesday. That's expected to release some more significant runoff from snowmelt, with rivers and streams experiencing more high water this week. 

The heat wave won't last however. By the second half of the week, thunderstorms will develop and weekend highs are only expected to be in the upper 50s with showers Saturday and Sunday. 


Dry weather brings fishing restrictions to Clark Fork watershed

(MISSOULA)- With water levels continuing to drop, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is being forced to impose restrictions to help ease pressure on fish stocks in several popular rivers. 

The cutbacks, commonly known as "hoot owl" restrictions because fishing is limited to early morning hours, will go into effect on Friday.

FWP biologists have been worried about rapidly dropping water levels on area rivers for the past several weeks. Some streamflows are already down to August levels, and coupled with air temperatures far above normal, is bringing a rise in temperatures that's critical to fish habitat.  

In some cases, water temperatures have been above 70-degrees, or nearly 20-degrees above the point some species need to get through the hotter summer days. Biologists have already had evidence of some fish kills because of the warmer water. 

The hoot owl conditions restrict all fishing between 2 p.m. and midnight to ease angling pressure on the fish stocks.

The closures cover all of the Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers, as well as the Clark Fork from the headwaters in the Deer Lodge Valley downstream to the Flathead River confluence near Paradise. Additionally, the restrictions impact Flint Creek, and upper Silver Bow Creek which are also tributaries of the Clark Fork. 


Montana summer was hot, but no record breaker

A summer to remember, but not one for the record books- GNP webcam photo(MISSOULA)- It may have seemed the temperature was permanently stuck above 90-degrees through the summer. But a final check of the weather records shows this year wasn't even in the Top 10 hottest summers in Western Montana. 

While other parts of the Northwest like Seattle experienced the hottest summer on record, Western Montana actually had what might be considered a fairly typical summer. 

The National Weather Service office in Missoula reports there were 21-days in July, or nearly the entire month, when the official temperature was 90-degrees or higher. However, things turned around in August, with only 10-days topping the 90-degree mark. And NWS says once again this year we didn't have a single day when Missoula's official temperature broke 100-degrees. 

And the last month of summer didn't change that picture either, especially with the mid-September cold snap that brought snow to the mountains. Last week's hot temperatures did break some records for individual days, but happened on the first few days of autumn. 


July a scorcher, but no Missoula record for 90s

Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- With a few exceptions, it may seem like the thermometer has been locked at 90-degrees and above all month long. And with more 90s in the forecast to close the month you might think we're close to breaking a record. 

And a check of the weather stats shows we have had a lot of days north of 90 this month. But we'll end up far short of the all-time scorcher month in Missoula weather history of July 2007.

Though the first half of the month, Missoula was on course to have the third warmest July on record. That's been tempered by last week's cool down. But the number of 90-degree-plus days is still impressive.

Through Monday, Missoula had recorded 18-days of 90 and above. With the current forecast we should finish July with 21-days over that mark. 

Yet that's still nowhere near what we suffered in 2007. That July, 30 of the 31-days in the month were over 90-degrees. That was also the landmark month when Missoula set its all-time hot temperature reading of 107-degrees and had 7-days not just above 90, but above 100. By comparison, the hottest day this month, through Monday, was 97-degrees. 

If the forecast holds, 2014 will be fourth on the list for 90-degree days in July, behind 2007 with 30, 24-days in 1960, and 23-days in 1985. Missoula had 19-days of 90-degrees or above in both 2012 and 2013. 


Western MT heat breaks records

People flock to the beach in Polson to beat the Western MT heat(MISSOULA)- Western Montana's temps soared to record levels on Monday, as the state remained under the northern end of a heat wave that has the entire West in its sweaty grip.

The National Weather Service says many smaller communities topped the century mark, with Stevensville leading the way at 102-degrees. That eclipsed the old record of 97 which had stood since 1924. Other places, especially in the Lower Clark Fork Valley all crossed the century mark. Places like Missoula were very close with a high of 99.

Other new records were set in St. Regis at 98-degrees, Eureka at 97, Sula reaching 96 and West Glacier made it to 95. Kalispell, Anaconda and Butte also set new high temperature marks. The 97-degrees in Hamilton tied the old record set in 1990. 

Forecasters say Tuesday will be another scorcher, and Wednesday could be hot as well before temps moderate later in the week.