Despite what might have appeared to be a snowier-than-usual January — it really only snowed at the beginning and end of the month and was broken up by a significant warm, dry spell in the middle — statewide snowpack was down just a bit by the end of the month.
Mountain snowpack across Montana is normal for a typical year and benefited from cold temperatures that helped preserve what snow fell in October.
A week of very warm temperatures has melted more than half of winter snowpack in some areas of Montana, and if the trend continues snowpack could disappear by the end of the month — four weeks earlier than normal.
Although mountain snowmelt is a couple of weeks late getting started, stream flows across Montana should be near average through July.
A snowy, wet streak this week in south-central and southeast Montana broke a prolonged dry spell and renewed hope for a wetter spring.
Billings remains the epicenter of Montana’s ongoing drought, and March did nothing to improve matters.
Even with a 3 percentage-point dip in snowpack across Montana during February, stream flows this spring and summer won’t be too far from average.
Montana snowpack at the end of January was down slightly from the beginning of the month but, for the most part, remains in the normal range.
It’s early yet, so there is no reason to start worrying. But November snowpack is below average everywhere except the high Wyoming mountains that feed the Powder River Basin.
As of early April, prospects for spring and summer stream flows in Montana look good.
Warm weather during the past two weeks has started a trickle of snowmelt in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming and Absaroka Mountains in Montana almost a month earlier than normal.
BUTTE -- After a dry start to the winter, recent storms have helped bring the snowpack across Montana up to nearly normal levels, government officials said.
With statewide snowpack running below normal, stream-flow forecasts for April through July are down, too.
A storm that piled snow in Montana and Wyoming mountains last week boosted a lagging snowpack into the near-normal range in most river basins.
All over Montana, the first week in January has produced temperatures 10 degrees or higher — sometimes much higher — than normal.
Wind howled up one side of November and down the other, producing one of the most blustery months on record for Billings.
In the wake of the warmest weather of the year so far, waters are rising again across south-central Montana.
Copious amounts of rain, more snow in the mountains and the inevitability of warming temperatures are the stuff of nightmares for weather and emergency officials on flood watch this weekend.
Snowpack in the mountains that feed the upper Yellowstone River basin on Tuesday held more water for this late in the year than any other year in recorded history.
Heavy mountain snowpack that kept building in April, when it should have been starting to melt, has increased the chances of flooding in the Yellowstone Basin later this spring.