National Weather Service

Montana Residents Dig Out As Storm Shuts Down Highways

Feb 26, 2019
Snow falling in Missoula, Feb. 25, 2019.
Josh Burnham

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Residents in western Montana dug out from more than 2 feet of snow Tuesday as a winter storm pounded the southern part of the state, closing major roadways and prompting backcountry avalanche warnings.

Missoula set a new daily snowfall record with 8.6 inches (22 centimeters) on Monday, breaking a mark that had stood since 1917.

Heavy snow will continue this week across north central Idaho into west central Montana, bringing blowing snow, low visibility, and treacherous driving conditions.
National Weather Service Missoula

The winter storm dumping and blowing snow across much of western Montana is forcing school closures and creating severe driving conditions.

National Weather Service Missoula issued a telling tweet Monday afternoon.

"It looks like #spring has been cancelled until further notice."

The National Weather Service in Missoula reports a series of snowy weather systems will shift into the region this weekend.
National Weather Service Missoula

Winter refuses to loosen its grip on western Montana. The National Weather Service in Missoula reports a series of snowy weather systems will shift into the region this weekend.

Meteorologist Ryan Leach says only a few scattered snow showers are forecast for late Friday through Saturday. That’s expected to dramatically change starting Sunday.

National Weather Service headquarters in Missoula, Montana.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

A blast of arctic air is barreling down on the Northern Rockies. Some snow and blowing snow is in the forecast, but meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal says the system’s biggest threat comes in the form of bitter cold temperatures.

A forecast graphic showing temperature predictions for Feb. 3, 2019.
National Weather Service Missoula

Snow, wind and cold temperatures are on the way. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a weekend winter storm watches for several areas in Western Montana.

Wind chill could drop temperatures to as low as -30 degrees. NWS cautions that frostbite on exposed skin could occur in as little as 30 minutes.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - Jan. 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff / USDA

Montana’s snowpack is hit or miss so far this winter. The Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service says autumn snowstorms laid a good foundation, but it's still too early to know where the season will go. 

Wintertime El Niño Pattern

Odds are that Montana’s winter will be marked by at or below normal snowpack and above-normal temperatures.

That’s according to the Missoula National Weather Service, which released its winter weather outlook Monday.

A webcam view from Logan Pass in Glacier National Park on the morning of August 27, 2018.
Glacier National Park

Updated 5:15 p.m.

The widespread precipitation gracing Montana has at least tapped the brakes on the 2018 fire season. But National Weather Service Meteorologist Trent Smith says it’s not the full-stop event everybody’s hoping for.

A view of the Davis Fire in the Kootenai National Forest, August 2, 2018.

Mild weather unlikely to expand wildfires is expected this weekend, after a week of high temperatures, low humidity and a Red Flag Warning - or an indication that weather is ripe for wildfires to start and spread. That red flag warning for the western two-thirds of Montana is set to expire at midnight tonight.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 2, 2018

Aug 2, 2018
What is a red flag warning?
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says fire-weather conditions now exist across much of Montana, with high temperatures, low humidity and strong wind gusts forecast through tomorrow. Red flag warnings are in effect.