Dry January brings sobering snowpack values

Joshua Murdock

An early start to wintry weather last fall has faltered in the new year, causing regional snowpack levels to drop below normal around Missoula, the Bitterroot and the Flathead regions. 

As of Monday, many mountain areas in western Montana had only about three-quarters of their historical average amount of snow for Jan. 23. Some snow is in the forecast, but no significant accumulation is expected. Snowfall has lessened drought severity in Montana, but the state remains almost entirely in some degree of drought.  

See what weather is in store for the Missoula area this week! (Video courtesy of Missoula NWS)

The slowing growth rate of the season’s snowpack follows an unusually early start. Snow began accumulating in late October, followed by a succession of storms in early November that prompted early ski resort openings and unseasonable autumn backcountry skiing. By mid-November, weather stations around the region showed snow depths anywhere from 150% of normal to more than 200%, or double, their normal depth. That fit with forecasts of an unusually cold and snowy winter for western Montana. 

People are also reading…

By Nov. 11, a weather

View Source