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Entries in Montana weather (81)


Inversions returning to Western MT valleys 

(MISSOULA)- The fresh air was nice while it lasted. 

However, the return of a ridge of high pressure is already bringing a return of inversions to the valleys of Western Montana. 

Inversions are created in the Northern Rockies when warmer air is present at higher elevations, trapping colder air, and particulates from wood stoves and other sources at the surface. There have already been several episodes where air quality dropped this winter, and forecasters are expecting those conditions to return going into this weekend. 

The Missoula, Bitterroot, Mission, Flathead and Helena valleys are especially susceptible to these developing conditions. Montana DEQ reports most air quality was still "moderate" as of Thursday morning, although Seeley Lake had already seen some readings in the "unhealthy" range, which causes problems for people with repiratory conditions.  


Snow showers persist across Montana

View from Glacier National Park this morning (MISSOULA)- Although winter continues its grip on the Treasure State, conditions are proving to be a lot calmer, and warmer that much of the season so far. 

The National Weather Service was reporting scattered snow across the region again Tuesday morning, with most of the concentrated snow over parts of Southwest Montana. Drivers were encountering new snow, with some areas of blowing and drifting snow, on Monida Pass, Bozeman Pass and other main highways this morning. 

However, only light snow showers were hitting much of Western Central and Northwest Montana and accumulations are expected to continue to be light through today and into Wednesday.

Best of all, temperatures have moderated. Most areas will see highs continue in the mid 20s to low 30s over the next several days, with the coldest lows hitting the single digits, especially later in the week. 


Kalispell sets new record for all-time wettest October

Cloudy skies and rain have been the normal in NW Montana this year- GNP webcam photo (KALISPELL)- The last time it was this wet, you'd have to put the top up on your Model T. 

As of 6 a.m. this morning, Kalispell broke the record that's stood for more than a century, topping 3.41" of rain for the month of October. The old mark of 3.40" was set back in October of 2014. 

A very wet weather pattern which settled over the Northwest at the start of the month has continued to impact all of Western Montana's weather, but Northwest Montana has been getting the brunt of the storms. 

And with a few days left in the month, and more precipitation in the forecast, that record will just continue to add to the total. 

By comparison, Missoula has had just under 2" of rain so far this month. 


Colder weather brings snow to MT high country 

Lost Trail Pass Wednesday morning- IDT photo(MISSOULA)- After several days of "early summer" weather, Montanans are being reminded spring can deliver just about any kind of conditions to the Treasure State. 

Temperatures had climbed to the high 70s, and even topping 80 this past weekend, which is 20-to-30 degrees above normal for this time of the year. 

But a pair of colder systems is changing that outlook for the remainder of the week. Snow levels in the Bitterroot Range had dropped to as low as 4,000 feet Wednesday morning, with snow showers even leaving a fresh coating of white on Lost Trail Pass. 

Rain and gusty winds will be the primary feature in the valleys, with highs falling back into the 40s until another warmup the second half of the weekend. 


Thick fog blanketing parts of Western MT

(MISSOULA)- Thick fog is blanketing portions of Western Montana this morning in advance of an incoming system that will clear the air, but bring mountain snow and rain showers. 

The foggy conditions began this morning with freezing fog in some of the higher elevations around Missoula and the Northern Bitterroot Valley. Even by mid-morning the fog remained thick with visibilities of less than 100-yards. While skies in the Southern Bitterroot were clear, the north end of the valley, through Missoula and much of the Lower and Upper Clark Fork valleys were completely socked in. 

While some drivers were cautious enough to use their headlights, others were running the risk of accidents by not running any lights at all. 

Forecasters say an incoming storm system should help clear things out as the day wears on, although the fog will be replaced by mountain snow, with rain in the valleys. Some areas like Lookout Pass were already receiving fresh snow by mid-morning.

A stronger, colder system could bring snow to the valley floors Friday evening into Saturday morning.