BOZEMAN – I’m sure we are all glad October is behind us. The entire month was colder than normal and snow storm after snow storm impacted the state.
NOAA issued their official winter weather outlook a few weeks ago and they told us that ENSO neutral conditions are likely in the equatorial pacific. That means a normal winter for Montana, but it started way too early and pretty much wiped out our entire fall season.
The last week of October was particularly brutal with 2 strong arctic cold fronts. Morning lows dropped well below zero and Bozeman airport hit -14° below zero twice! That is a new all-time record low for the month. Because of the extremely cold temperatures in the last week of the month locked us into historic cold average temperatures.
In fact, SW Montana endured it’s top 5 coldest October on record and for Belgrade, Dillon, and Butte this past October was ranked #1 or the coldest ever October on record.
Mountain snowpack is through the roof for this time of year with well above normal SWE or snow water equivalent.
Not everyone is happy with this early arrival of winter weather. The AG producers left cut hay, wheat and corn in the fields. Extreme winter temperatures are always hard on livestock.
ENSO neutral winters are typically (not always) on the cold side with around 2 to 8 arctic events according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Nester in the Missoula forecast office. Some of the coldest and snowiest winter events have occurred during ENSO neutral years.
Who remembers 1996 week before Christmas? Historic snowfall across the state.
The above on-demand STORMTracker weather video I walk you through all the local data from this past October and a look at the forecast for the first two weeks of November to see if the current trends continue.