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Entries in Montana weather (81)


Warming temps could spark Montana flooding this week

NWS graphic (MISSOULA)- With a few exceptions, Montana has been fairly lucky this spring, as warming temperatures have been countered by a return to colder weather several times in recent weeks.

But now the National Weather Service is warning a week full of above average readings could finally start the spring thaw, and flooding in earnest. 

After snow and cold weather moved across the state over the weekend, building high pressure brought a return to 60-degree readings in some areas Monday. Libby hit a high of 66-degrees. 

And forecasters say temperatures could press the 80-degree mark before the end of the week, resulting in more snowmelt and a rise water levels on smaller streams and creeks. With the warm spell lasting through the end of the week, NWS believes the state's main rivers could see increasing water levels by Friday. 

At least at this point, we aren't seeing a "spike" in temperatures like we've had some years in May, where readings could pop above 90-degrees. 



Severe cold, more snow, pushing into Montana

More stormy weather is headed for Montana- GNP Lake McDonald webcam(MISSOULA)- It's back to snowy, cold weather for Montana this week, as the state gets another shot of winter weather and cold air pushing south out of Canada.

National Weather Service forecasters say light snow will develop across Western Montana and central Idaho through Monday morning, with areas of heavier snow possible at times, especially in the Bitterroot Valley.

But snow isn't the worst of what's coming.

Forecasters are expecting the most significant push of cold northeast winds since a cold snap pushed temps below zero for the first time in more than two years in Missoula back in early December. Overnight lows will drop into the single digits, and below zero, with cold blustery winds pushing wind chill factors down to dangerous levels on Wednesday morning. 

Temperatures are likely to stay in that range until late in the week, with lows in Kalispell down to -15 on Wednesday night. 

The winds and wind chills will be especially severe east of the Divide. NWS expects snow the first part of the week to be replaced with bitter cold by mid-week. Tuesday night's low in Great Falls is forecast down to -23. 


Return to winter weather this week

Blue skies come to an end this week- Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- After nearly three solid weeks of clear, dry weather across Western Montana, forecasters say one of the best chances of widespread snow will move across the region starting Tuesday night. 

While there have been storms that have hit areas along the Divide, and across Eastern Montana as recently as this weekend, more significant snow has been a rare thing west of the Divide in January. However, the National Weather Service says that's going to change, with a strong system expected to dump more than a foot of snow at the higher elevations. 

In Northwest Montana, NWS forecasters say the valleys will see a mix of snow and freezing rain, and with dropping temperatures that could create some hazardous driving conditions into Wednesday morning. Moderate snow is expected over Marias Pass, where up to a foot of snow could fall, combined with high winds. Several inches of snow are possible in the valleys through Wednesday evening. 

In West Central Montana and Southwest Montana freezing rain will also hit the valleys, turning to snow on Wednesday evening. The heaviest snow will be in the passes with 12-16" possible on Lolo Pass, and a foot on Lost Trail Pass. Additional snow will fall on MacDonald and Rogers passes, as well as Deer Lodge, Georgetown Lake and Butte. 


2013 Stevensville's driest in almost 80-years

The Bitterroot River reached some of its lowest levels in decades last summer(STEVENSVILLE)- Everyone in the Bitterroot knew last summer was exceptionally dry. But now a check of the weather records shows it was the driest in Stevesville in nearly 80-years.

A fairly mild winter, followed by a dry spell in the spring and more dry conditions in the summer and fall created one of the driest years in recent memory in the Bitterroot. 

The Bitterroot River was a perfect indicator of the dry spell, reaching one of the lowest levels in decades. 

And now the National Weather Service has confirmed it wasn't just our imagination. A check of the records shows it 2013 was the driest year in Stevensville in 78-years, with records going all the way back to 1911. Stevensville only received 8.33-inches of rain this past year, the lowest amount since 7.4-inches in 1931. 

It was much the same in the southern Bitterroot. NWS says Hamilton had just over 9-inches of rain, the smallest amount since 1966. 

Traditionally the Bitterroot would see an average of just over 12-inches of rain per year.


Back to the cold for Montana's weather

Clouds began building over Glacier National Park Tuesday afternoon- GNP photo(MISSOULA)- It was nice while it lasted. 

But forecasters with the National Weather Service say a welcome dip into warm temperatures across Montana will come to an end Wednesday as another Arctic cold front pushed into the Northern Rockies from Canada. 

Temperatures the past three days have been far above average. Tuesday's highs climbed into the 50s in many areas. Holter Dam was the warmest at 58-degrees, while Butte set a record high temperature for this date of 53-degrees, tying the mark from 1980. One of the automatated weather stations in Hamilton even hit an unofficial high of 61-degrees, but that mark wasn't verified. 

However, by Tuesday evening temperatures were already starting to drop, and the National Weather Service has issued watches and warnings for winter weather in most areas of the state. Northwest Montana, along the Divide and down the Rocky Mountain Front are expected to see the most impacts from this new storm, witch temperatures dropping into the teens, with high winds and several inches of snow possible. 

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