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snow

A prolonged period of strong winds will affect western Montana, and to a lesser extent north central Idaho, beginning late Tuesday night and lasting through Wednesday.
National Weather Service Missoula

Winter weather is rolling into Montana this evening. Montana is sitting smack dab in-between two developing weather systems. How it will affect you depends on where you are and where you’re traveling this holiday week.

Near Browning, MT as seen from a Montana Department of Transportation camera on the morning of Sept. 28.
Montana Department of Transportation

The Blackfeet Tribe and Montanans east of the Rocky Mountain Front are just beginning to dig out of a record-breaking early-season snowstorm. It'll take a few days for the snow to melt and things to return to normal. By Saturday morning, 20 inches of snow had already fallen on the Blackfeet Nation.

Wintry Blast Closes Schools, Plunges Temperatures In Rockies
National Weather Service Great Falls, MT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Some schools in Montana took their earliest snow day in memory Monday after a blizzard dumped several feet of snow, while plunging temperatures threatened crops across other parts of the Rocky Mountains in an unusually early blast of wintry weather.

Montana is under emergency conditions after an intense winter storm dumped record amounts of snow along with a life-threatening combination of bitter cold and stiff winds. In the town of Browning, 48 inches of snow fell from Friday to Sunday, the National Weather Service says.

Despite coming in late September, the 19.3 inches of snow that just fell over two days in Great Falls is second to only one other two-day total in the city — in any month. The only time the city recorded more snow in two days was during a winter storm more than 10 years ago.

National Air Pollutant Concentration Averages, 1990-2018.
U.S. EPA Air Quality System

Snow samples from three national parks in the Rocky Mountains reflect improved air quality in the region since the mid-1990s. That’s according to a recent publication from the National Park Service.

Year-to-date precipitation basin percentage of normal.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Below-normal precipitation last month combined with warmer seasonal temperatures nibbled around the edges of Montana’s snowpack, but it could have been a lot worse.

It turns out that February’s bitter cold and record snowfall had an important upside. It bought Montana’s snowpack a little extra time during what turned out to be a very dry March.

Temperatures will be slowly increasing in the Northern Rockies, starting this Friday and lasting through the first half of next week, with highs reaching the upper 40s to low 50s across much of north central Idaho and western Montana. March 13, 2019.
NWS Missoula

While a blizzard slammed parts of southeast Montana Wednesday, it seems winter weather is finally giving way to spring-like conditions west of the divide.

National Weather Service Missoula says spring runoff season is just about to start in earnest. 

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - March 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff

February bucked all expectations of warmer-than-average temperatures and below normal snowfall.

“One of the things that is unique about this job is things can turn around pretty quickly, so you end up eating crow more often than you’d like,” says Lucas Zukiewicz, a water supply specialist with the Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation 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.

Forget The Powder; Why Some Animals Prefer Crusty Snow

Feb 24, 2019
A fox in mid-air about to poke through the snow while hunting.
iStock

This morning, the valley sits under a blanket of fresh snow, and another few inches is forecast for tomorrow. I love the first day or two after a snowfall when everything is still white and clean, before the snow’s presence in town becomes more of a hindrance than a facelift.

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