NOAA Predicts Wetter, Cooler Winter For Much Of Montana

Oct 19, 2017

Montana could be in for another colder and wetter-than-normal winter. That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter outlook issued Thursday.

Nothing's written in stone at this point, but experts say it looks like La Niña could, like it did last year, influence Montana’s winter weather.

Here’s Missoula National Weather Service meteorologist Marty Whitmore.

"Precipitation: there’s a little bit of a stronger signature during La Niñas for all of Montana and that’s wetter – wetter than normal."

Whitmore says it’s a safe bet that Montana’s higher elevations will get a good snowpack this year. The trickier prediction is whether the low elevations will get much. That’s depends on temperature.

"For temperatures across the northern fringe of the United States – so not even all of Montana, but maybe the northern half of Montana – it tends toward a cooler-than-normal winter," Whitmore says.

It’s too soon to predict central and west-central Montana's winter temperature trends. Whitmore says that depends on how many arctic cold fronts slip down from Canada and pool in the valleys.

He adds La Niña patterns typically don’t affect temperatures in southern Montana. That means there’s an equal chance for above, near or below normal temperatures there.