Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS
AXUS75 KTFX 171952
DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
152 PM MDT FRI JUL 17 2015
...Montana Drought Information Statement as of mid-July 2015...
The Montana Drought Information Statement is issued by the National
Weather Service Office in Great Falls in cooperation and coordination
with the National Weather Service Offices in Missoula, Billings, and
...Drought Conditions Worsening Over Western Montana...
Drought conditions area increasing over much of the western third of
Montana and the hi-line.
Preliminary analysis for June show the western half of Montana
received well below average precipitation. Most areas received less
than 50% of average, with some areas receiving less than 25% of
average. June is climatologically the wettest month for Montana as a
whole. South-central into northeast Montana, conditions were mixed
with some areas receiving above to well above average precipitation,
while other areas saw below to well below average amounts. Southeast
and far eastern Montana were the areas of the state that ended with
widespread areas of above to well above average precipitation.
Temperatures trends follow a similar geographic pattern - daytime
highs averaged 6 to 12 degrees above average across the western third
to half of Montana. The eastern half of the state saw daytime highs
near average. Overnight lows were closer to average in most areas,
however, portions of central, south-central, and southeast have large
areas 4 to 6 degrees above average, and pockets 6 to 8 degrees above
Detailed summary of June weather conditions for Montana
As of July 14, the portion of Montana in some stage of drought on the
National Drought Monitor stands at over 40 percent /42.31 percent/.
Over 16% of this /16.39 percent/ falls in the D1 - Moderate Drought
category, with over 12% /12.32 percent/ in the D2 - Severe Drought
category, and over 13% /13.60 percent/ now in D3 - Extreme Drought.
No part of Montana is in D4 - Exceptional Drought. Nearly 30% of
Montana /29.11 percent/ is classified as D0 - Abnormally Dry.
The Drought Outlook released July 16 shows drought persistence or
intensification through October over those portions of west and
southwest Montana currently in a D1 - Moderate Drought, D2 - Severe
Drought, or D3 Extreme Drought status. Drought development is likely
in central Montana. This assessment is based on current conditions,
long term forecasts and the climatic trends for drier weather in
Montana during the summer and early autumn.
Recent precipitation maps show much of the western half of Montana
has received below to well below normal precipitation for the current
month, the previous month and for the crop year.
HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
Streamflows in the western half of Montana are mostly in the below to
much below normal range...the 24th percentile or lower. A few
stations are hitting new daily record low flows...mainly west of and
near the Continental Divide. Over the eastern half of Montana,
streamflows are mostly in the near-normal percentiles with some sites
in the far southeast corner of the state running much above normal
for the date. Overall, streamflows during the summer are expected to
be below to well below average statewide.
Streamflow forecasts for rivers and sites west of the Continental
Divide provided by the Northwest River Forecast Center - NWRFC - in
Streamflow forecasts for rivers and sites east of the Continental
Divide provided by the Missouri Basin River Forecast Center - MBRFC -
in Pleasant Hill, Missouri.
SURFACE WATER SUPPLY INDEX...
The Surface Water Supply Index - SWSI - is a measure of available
surface water availability for the upcoming months. The SWSI accounts
for mountain snowpack, mountain precipitation, streamflow, reservoir
storage and soil moisture. SWSI values are provided by the Natural
Resources Conservation Service - NRCS - with the US Dept of
Agriculture. Update to be released soon.
As of July 1, reservoirs across Montana are mostly near to slightly
above historical averages for the date, and irrigation demands are
currently being met in most areas.
Reservoir storage provided by NRCS - percent of last year, current
percent of average, average percent of capacity, and current percent
SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...
STATE AND LOCAL ACTIONS...
The Montana Governor`s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee
met July 16. Copies of the presentations provided at the meeting can
be reviewed through the Committee`s website below. Reports all
discussed the drier conditions and resulting impacts...particularly
west. The Committee will continue to meet monthly through the summer
and early autumn months. The next meeting will be held August 20.
SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS...
Recent hot weather and plant growth/evapotranspiration are tasking
soil moisture content. Recent thunderstorms brought precipitation to
some areas, however, this was very localized. Across northwest, north
central, central and eastern Montana losses were noted during the
last month. In spite of these changes, soil moisture across north
central and eastern Montana continues to run above normal while west,
southwest and south central Montana continue to run below normal.
total-SM-change.shtml Soil Moisture Change Map
From the Montana Crop Progress Report issued by the Montana Field
Office for the National Agricultural Statistics Service - NASS - for
the week ending July 12...
Temperatures returned to much closer to normal for a good part of
this week in Montana and there were scattered storms that brought
much needed precipitation to parts of the State following weeks of
very hot, dry weather. Some of these storms did bring more hail and
high winds to some areas however. Winter wheat harvest has begun
weeks ahead of normal due to warmer than normal spring conditions.
First cuttings of alfalfa and other hay are wrapping up with 91
percent and 88 percent complete respectively but reporters are noting
that yield is down due to hot temperatures, lack of precipitation and
grasshopper damage. ... Pasture and range conditions declined
slightly from last week as this week/s precipitation was just too
late to prevent grass from maturing and reporters say producers are
already in search of hay to supplement deteriorating native grass
Topsoil and Subsoil conditions as of July 12...
Layer and Moisture Rating This week 2014 5-year Average
Topsoil Short to Very Short 52 35 36
Topsoil Adequate to Surplus 48 65 64
Subsoil Short to Very Short 47 31 29
Subsoil Adequate to Surplus 53 69 71
As of July 17 and continuing until further notice, Stage 1 Fire
Restrictions are in place for all or portions of several counties in
Montana. There were no Stage 2 Fire Restrictions in place.
For the 2015 wildfire season, as of July 17, Montana has had 990
wildfires, and of these, 747 were human caused. Combined, these total
over 43 thousand acres /43,865/. Twenty-four of these fires have
surpassed 100 acres in size and have a combined estimated cost of
nearly $4 million /$3,734,060/. The largest of these includes Sheep
Draw /13,949 acres/, Alex Camp Road /5,750 acres/, Bales /5,738
acres/, South Sarpy /5,040 acres/, Slough /4,500 acres/, Bringoff
/4,094 acres/, and Hercules /3,364 acres/.
CURRENT WATER RESTRICTIONS...
None known at this time
OTHER IMPACTS - RECREATIONAL...
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has enacted Hoot Owl Fishing
Restrictions (stream closure 2 PM to midnight) for the following
* Beaverhead River - Portions of the Beaverhead River from Anderson
Lane to its confluence with the Big Hole.
* Big Hole River - Entire Big Hole River, excluding Dickey Bridge to
Maiden Rock Fishing Access Site.
* Bitterroot River - Bitterroot River from its origin at the confluence
of the East and West Forks of the Bitterroot River to its mouth
* Blackfoot River - Blackfoot River from its headwaters to its
confluence with the Clark Fork River
* Clark Fork River - Clark Fork River from its origin at the confluence
of Warm Springs and Silver Bow Creeks
* East Gallatin River - Entire East Gallatin River from its origin at
the confluence of Rocky and Sourdough Creeks to its confluence with
the West Gallatin River
* Flint Creek - From the Highway 1 Bridge near milepost 53 to the mouth
* Gallatin River - Lower Gallatin River from Sheds Bridge (Hwy 84) near
Four Corners, MT, downstream to its confluence with the Madison River
at Three Forks
* Jefferson River - Entire Jefferson River
* Madison River - Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to the Missouri
* Ruby River - Portions of the Ruby River from Duncan District Road to
its confluence with the Beaverhead River
* Shields River - Most of the Shields River from its confluence with
Smith Creek downstream to its confluence with the Yellowstone River.
* Silver Bow Creek - From Blacktail Creek to the mouth where it joins
with Warm Springs Creek
June for Montana ranged from colder than average mid-month to warmer
than average by the end of the month. Overall, Montana was mostly
warmer and drier than average. While eastern areas of the state
received above to areas of well above average precipitation, western
portions of Montana were dry with large areas of well below average
precipitation. For Great Falls it was the driest June on record /123
years of record/, Belgrade saw its third driest /78 years of record/,
Bozeman-MSU and Havre their fourth driest of record /both with 135
years of record/. Temperatures for June 2015 averaged 5.4 degrees
Fahrenheit above normal, the warmest June for Montana since 1988.
High temperature for the state was 109 degrees Fahrenheit at Troy on
June 28. Low temperature was 27 degrees Fahrenheit at Wisdom June 14.
Greatest precipitation for the month was 5.70 inches at Belltower in
Carter County. Wind averaged 7.6 miles per hour, the 3rd calmest of
record for June since 1936.
The August outlook for Montana released July 16 indicates a 40% to
50% chance temperatures will average above normal west of the Divide,
and a 33% to 40% chance temperatures will average above normal along
the Rocky Mountain Front and adjacent plains into southwest Montana.
The eastern half of the state has equal chances temperatures will
average above, below or near normal for central and eastern Montana.
The precipitation outlook for August updated July 16 shows a 33% to
40% chance precipitation will average below normal over the northwest
Montana. The remainder of the state has equal chances precipitation
will average above, below or near normal the month.
For the September through November period, the outlook shows a 40% to
50% chance temperatures will average above normal west, central and
northeast, with a 33% to 40% chance temperatures will average above
normal east and southeast.
The precipitation outlook for September through November shows no
guidance trending wetter or drier than average; the entire state has
equal chances for above, below or near normal precipitation over the
In an update released July 9, the National Weather Service Climate
Prediction Center with the International Research Institute for
Climate and Society stated that there is a greater than 90% chance
that El Nino will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter
2015-16, and around an 80% chance it will last into early spring
enso_advisory/ensodisc.html"NOAA Climate Prediction Center ENSO
NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...
Updates to this product will be made on an as needed basis, with at
least one issuance per month when drought conditions exist. This
update typically will be between the 15th and 25th. The next issuance
of the Drought Information Statement for Montana should be no later
than Thursday, August 20, 2015.
RELATED WEB SITES...
Additional information on current drought conditions may be found at
the following web addresses...
html National Drought Outlook
http://www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu/U.S. Drought Monitor
http://www.drought.noaa.gov/NOAA Drought Information Center
http://drought.govNational Integrated Drought Information System -
NIDIS - Drought Portal
http://drought.mt.govMontana Drought and Water Information
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/tfx/main/drought.php?wfo=tfxNWS Great Falls
http://wrcc.dri.eduWestern Regional Climate Center
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/Climate Prediction Center /CPC/
http://water.weather.gov/ahps/NWS River Information
http://mt.water.usgs.gov/USGS Water Resources of Montana
http://www.usbr.gov/gp/US Bureau of Reclamation Great Plains Region
http://www.usbr.gov/pn/US Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest
http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha
http://www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/Natural Resources Conservation
Service Water Supply
Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services
The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA`s
National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center...the US
Department of Agriculture...state and regional centers
climatologists and the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA
observation sites, Montana Department Of Natural Resources, State
Cooperative Extension Services, USDA, NRCS, USACE and USGS.
This data is provided by the many agencies listed above. This does
not constitute an endorsement by the NWS of any information, products
or services by the content provider. The NWS does not own or operate
these sites and is not responsible for site maintenance or data
accuracy. Use this data at your own risk.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...
If you have any questions or comments about this Drought Information
Statement, please contact...
National Weather Service
5324 Tri-Hill Frontage Road
Great Falls MT 59404