MTPR

weather

Parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are experiencing severe or extreme drought.
NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in the Dakotas and Montana in response to drought.

Perdue says that without alternative forage options, ranchers could be devastated economically. The emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately, and extends through Sept. 30 unless conditions improve.

Montana drought status by county, May 1, 2017.
Montana DNRC

Drought is not expected to be a major factor this year in Montana.

Here’s something Montanans don’t frequently hear this time of year:

“It’s very unusual for most of Montana to be as wet as it is at this point," says National Weather Service Meteorologist Bruce Bauck.

Expected gust speeds during the afternoon hours for May 24, 2017. These values are simply representative of overall gust speeds for each area.
National Weather Service, Missoula, MT.

Be prepared for strong gusts, tree damage, and possible hazardous driving conditions in western Montana Wednesday.

May Snowstorm Causes Problems In Western Montana

May 17, 2017
A storm system moving across western and southwestern Montana on Wednesday brought snow to the higher elevations along the Rocky Mountain Front and heavy rain at lower elevations.
Josh Burnham

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A May snowstorm caused power outages and travel issues in western Montana on Wednesday.

The Department of Transportation closed Interstate 90 over Homestake Pass east of Butte due to jackknifed semi-trailers and poor travel conditions due to heavy, wet snow. Travelers were encouraged to take alternate routes.

A strong spring storm will bring wet heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho Tuesday and Wednesday.
National Weather Service Missoula

According to the National Weather Service, a strong spring storm will bring wet heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho starting Tuesday night and continuing through Wednesday. The period of most concern for snow will be tonight after midnight through Wednesday morning.

Wet Weather Hampers Prescribed Burns In Montana

May 8, 2017
A firefighter works to control a blaze at the edge of back-burn on a private ranch near the Roaring Lion Fire, August 3, 2016.
Mike Albans

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A snowy winter and a wet spring in western Montana are making it hard to conduct prescribed burns to reduce the risk of wildfires later in the year, federal forest managers said.

Fire experts are predicting a slower than normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, but by July and August the potential jumps up to normal, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho.

Fire experts are predicting a slower-than-normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, according to a Northern Rockies fire season outlook released Monday afternoon.

Western Montana sub-basin snow water equivalent.
USDA NRCS

Most of Montana’s high elevation snowpack is looking good. Montana entered April on relatively steady footing when it comes to our snowpack levels. The latest water supply outlook from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman notes new snowfall bolstered snowpack during March’s first two weeks.

National Weather Service, Missoula, MT.
Josh Burnham

"It was a pretty impressive winter," says Trent Smith from the National Weather Service. "Kalispell and Missoula had some of the coldest average mean temperatures since the late 1970's. And then we ... got a significant amount of snow over this winter. And now that we've transitioned here these past few weeks we're really looking at the flooding issues."

Listen now as Smith recaps the weather highlights from this winter and gives a preview of what's in store for western Montana as we transition from winter to spring.

Montana Sub-basin Snow-Water Equivalent, March 01, 2017.
USDA NRCS

February isn't usually Montana’s biggest snow month, but this year proved to be a major exception. Substantial snow fell across the state during February's first two weeks; especially in Montana's northern and southern basins.

Lucas Zukiewicz of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service says it was a badly needed shot-in-the-arm after January's anemic snow totals:

Pages