Despite a forecasted early start to winter weather next week, Montana could see a warmer and drier winter than normal through February.
According to predictions released Thursday by the Climate Predictions Center, a division of the National Weather Service, the southern portion of Montana is 40–50% likely to have a warmer winter than normal and the northern portion is 50–60% likely to see a warmer winter.
Missoula sits on the border between those two prediction zones, leaving its crystal ball overcast and foggy.
The winter assessment predicted that nearly all of Montana is 40–50% likely to see below-normal precipitation, meaning less rain and snow than would normally fall in the coming months.
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The predictions were for December, January and February.
Hope Spargo hikes uphill on backcountry skis near Lolo Pass on Nov. 16, 2022. Unusually deep snow in early and mid-November that year allowed backcountry skiers and snowboarders to make powder turns weeks earlier than normal.
JOSHUA MURDOCK, Missoulian
Before that, the agency predicts November will likely be warmer than