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Entries in Montana weather (79)


Drought assistance coming for 15 Montana counties 

U.S. Drought Monitor map from July 7(HELENA)- 15-Montana counties are being declared as disaster areas because of this year's long dry spell. 

Much of Western Montana moved into "extreme drought" conditions as June brought record high temperatures and some of the lowest precipitation totals in decades. That designation, known officially as "D3-D4" is the second highest level of drought monitored in the United States. 

Now, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has informed Governor Steve Bullock the U.S.D.A. will list 15-counties as primary natural disaster areas because of the drought. The list includes Missoula, Ravalli, Lake, Flathead, Mineral, Granite, Sanders, Lincoln, Glacier, Silver Bow, Powell, Pondera, Lewis and Clark, Deer Lodge and Beaverhead Counties. 

The designation opens the doors for farmers to apply for emergency loans and assistance programs within the next 8-months. 


Glacier soaked by nearly an inch of rain 

Glacier still stormy today, but heavy rains have eased- GNP photo(WEST GLACIER)- A flash flood watch has been canceled for Glacier National Park, where up to an inch of rain fell during intense storms on Tuesday. 

The National Weather Service had issued the watch following the heavy rains that swept through West Glacier and the west side of the park, raising the potential of flooding from some of the higher elevation creeks. However, with rains easing to showers this morning, the watch was canceled just after 7 a.m. 

The potential for flash floods can be especially dangerous this time of the year in the park, with more visitors entering Glacier at the same time creeks are already running high with snow melt. A few years ago, flash flooding in early summer kicked up a major rockslide that nearly hit several cars on the upper stretch of the Going-to-the-Sun Highway. 


Unseasonably warm weather sets new records across the state

GNP webcam photo of Lake McDonald, where temps were near 50(MISSOULA)- Monday was one another one for the record books, as sunshine and high pressure over the Northern Rockies resulted in temperatures more suitable for spring or even little summer than January. 

After Sunday saw some places such as Hamilton spike into the 60s, Monday brought even more widespread warming, with most corners of the state running 15-to-25 degrees above normal for this time of the year. 

The National Weather Service reported Roundup was officially the warmest in Montana at 68-degrees. Contrast that with Wisdom, in the Big Hole, where it was only 13-degrees Monday morning. 

 Butte set a new record at 53-degrees, breaking the old record of 49 set in 1998. Miles City set a new record with 58-degrees, Billings was 56 and Livingston had topped 62-degrees by early afternoon. That was only the second time Livingston  had been this warm in January since records were kept, dating back to 1948. 

Great Falls was the warmest of the state's largest cities, hitting a high of 67-degrees. 

The contrast was best illustrated by the unofficial reading at Georgetown Lake near Philipsburg, where the thermometer topped 50-degrees, just three weeks after the temp had plunged to 35-below. 


Montana summer was hot, but no record breaker

A summer to remember, but not one for the record books- GNP webcam photo(MISSOULA)- It may have seemed the temperature was permanently stuck above 90-degrees through the summer. But a final check of the weather records shows this year wasn't even in the Top 10 hottest summers in Western Montana. 

While other parts of the Northwest like Seattle experienced the hottest summer on record, Western Montana actually had what might be considered a fairly typical summer. 

The National Weather Service office in Missoula reports there were 21-days in July, or nearly the entire month, when the official temperature was 90-degrees or higher. However, things turned around in August, with only 10-days topping the 90-degree mark. And NWS says once again this year we didn't have a single day when Missoula's official temperature broke 100-degrees. 

And the last month of summer didn't change that picture either, especially with the mid-September cold snap that brought snow to the mountains. Last week's hot temperatures did break some records for individual days, but happened on the first few days of autumn. 


Summer ending with sizzle in Montana

End of summer on the Upper Clark Fork River- Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- In a year that brought a never-ending winter, a hot spell that lasted for weeks and "Snowtember", Mother Nature is giving a gift of absolutely perfect end-of-summer weather to "apologize" for the unsettled seasons.

It's another spectacular day for our last full day of summer across the state with plenty of sunshine and highs that should make it into the low to mid 80s this afternoon. Some locations may not see temperatures break 80.

Overnight lows will be mild again with lows in the lower 50s. 

Monday, high pressure will keep the sunshine in place, although there is about a 20-percent chance of showers or even thunderstorms in the afternoon. Most of that shower threat will likely impact Southwest Montana, but a chance of showers could impact Northwest Montana on Tuesday as well. 

Highs will remain around 80 with a mix of sun and clouds Tuesday. 

Long-range forecasts are still indicating a threat of some rain and cooler temperatures later this week.