Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Great Falls, MT

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NOUS45 KTFX 011724
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MTZ008>015-044>055-151800-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
1024 AM MST WED MAR 1 2017

...February 2017 and Winter Seasonal Weather Summary for North
Central and Southwest Montana...

A weak ridge of high pressure was situated along the west coast in
February. It was much weaker than normal, contributing to above
normal precipitation and a mix of above and below normal temperature
averages. Winds were generally near to above normal. There were a
couple of notable events during the month. Record snow amounts
occurred along the northern Rocky Mountain Front from the 4th-7th.
Record high temperatures occurred on the 15th and 16th, and some
thunderstorms were observed on the 16th and 21st.

TEMPERATURE...
Temperatures averaged above normal over southwest and north central
Montana. An area from the northern Rocky Mountain front to Meagher
County averaged below normal. The coolest areas were at higher
elevations. Yellow Mule (Gallatin) measured the coolest average at
18.3F, while Whitehall was the warmest with an average of 31.9F. The
first week of the month was cold, with temperatures averaging as much
as 30 to 35 degrees below normal. The coldest temperature in the
area was observed at Elk Park on the 3rd. They reported -38F.
Temperatures rebounded to above normal values from the 9th through
22nd. During the warmest period, on the 15th and 16th, average
temperatures were 25 to 30 degrees above normal. Some record highs
were set on the 15th and 16th. Fort Belknap reached 73F on the 15th.
Generally windy and dry conditions also prevailed during this
period. Temperatures cooled back to below normal values for the last
week. Cut Bank had the largest negative departure from normal at
3.9F below normal. West Yellowstone was the largest positive
departure at 7.7F. The warmest average temperature was 31.9F at
Whitehall while the coolest was 18.3F at Yellow Mule.
Seventy degree temperatures are somewhat unusual in February.
Although a 73F value was reported at Choteau in February 2016, the
last time a 70 degree reading was observed in the area was in 1992.
Geraldine reached 77F.

The area`s composite average temperature was 24.5F, the 58th warmest
February of record and the warmest since 1991.

PRECIPITATION...
In general, precipitation was above normal. There were scattered
areas with below normal precipitation. The area with the greatest
positive departure from normal was along the northern Rocky Mountain
Front. The highest precipitation values were 12.40-inches at Black
Bear SNOTEL, 9.60-inches at Many Glacier SNOTEL and 6.58-inches at
East Glacier.
Cut Bank recorded their 4th wettest February and wettest since 1958.
At Havre, it was their wettest February since 2007. At West
Yellowstone, with 4.15-inches, it was their wettest February of
record, exceeding the old record of 4.07-inches set in 1936. East
Glacier reported 6.58-inches of precipitation for the month, their
wettest February of record. The old record was 6.50-inches set in
1956. Many Glacier, with 9.60-inches of precipitation, recorded
their wettest February of record. Their previous maximum February
precipitation was set in 1996 and 1986 when 8.60-inches fell.

Precipitation averaged 0.88-inches across the area. This is the 14th
wettest of record and the wettest since 2007.

SNOW...
Monthly snowfall was generally above normal. With over a foot of
snow, Cut Bank had their 6th snowiest February of record and
snowiest since 2011. Over 5-feet of snow fell in one storm from
February 3-7 along the northern Rocky Mountain Front. St Mary, Many
Glacier, East Glacier and Babb all reported five or more feet of
snow. Although all the data is not yet in for St Mary, they have
reported 67.5-inches of snow in February, their second snowiest of
record. At East Glacier, they have reported 68.5-inches of snow,
exceeding their old February record of 65-inches set in 1956. This
would rank as their 11th snowiest month of record. Even West
Yellowstone received six-inches more snowfall than normal.

The area`s average February snowfall was 12.5-inches, the 22nd
snowiest of record and snowiest since 2014.

WIND...
Wind speeds averaged near to above normal. Of airport locations,
Ennis Big Sky recorded the highest monthly average of 14.7 mph. The
highest average at other locations was 18.7 mph at Norris Madison
MDT. The highest wind gust was 96 mph at Deep Creek RAWS on the
10th, and 77 mph at Two Medicine and Sapphire Village on the 16th.
The monthly area average wind speed was 9.2 mph, 0.3-mph above
normal. This was the 25th calmest of record.

####  Winter (Dec - Feb ) Summary  ####
For the past winter season, temperatures averaged below normal, up to
6 degrees. All months averaged below normal, except February which
was a mix of above normal southwest and below normal north. The
regional composite average temperature of 17.1F (average is 21.8F)
was cooler than average, and much cooler than last year`s 26.1F.
This winter was the 24th coolest of record and the coolest since
1992-93.

Precipitation averaged 2.78-inches across the area. This is the 22nd
wettest of record and the wettest since 1996-97.

All months produced above normal snowfall. The area average of
45.9-inches was the 11th snowiest of record and snowiest since 2010-11.

Wind speeds averaged near normal. Speeds averaged 9.2 mph, which was
the 14th calmest of record. The average is 9.3 mph. This is the
calmest since 2009-10.


####  Water-Year (Oct - Feb ) Summary  ####
For the water year, the average temperature is 26.9F, the 51st
coolest of record. This has been the coolest water year (through
February) since 2014.

Precipitation averaged 6.19-inches, which is the 3rd wettest of
record and the wettest since 1884. With the heavy precipitation of
last fall, and in February, the water-year-to-date continues on the
west side. Cut Bank has recorded their 6th wettest water year (so
far) and their wettest since 1946. Havre has had their 5th wettest
water year and their wettest since 1907. West Yellowstone has seen
their 2nd wettest water year and the wettest such period since 1997.

The water year average snowfall is 56.7-inches, 11.2-inches above
normal. This is the 22nd snowiest of record and the most water-year
snowfall since 2009. Cut Bank has had 49.7-inches of snow this water
year, which is their 3rd highest of record, and highest since 1959.
Holter Dam has measured 53.9-inches of snow this season, which is
their second snowiest of record and snowiest since 1940-41. Even
Helena has seen their snowiest such period in over twenty years.
This is the snowiest such period since 1993 at Helena.

Water-year winds have averaged 8.8-mph, 0.4-mph below normal. This is
the 8th calmest such period of record, and the calmest since 2011.


For additional information refer to the monthly Montana Weather and
Climate summary:
www.wrh.noaa.gov/tfx/climate/droughtsum/pdfs/montanawx_2017_02.pdf
and the NCEI State of the Climate report: www.ncei.noaa.gov/sotc

Average Temperature...Degrees Fahrenheit...
             FEB   NORM   RANK          DEC-FEB NORM
Bozeman......25.1..24.7...38th warmest   16.0...21.6...11th coolest
Cut Bank.....20.3..24.2...47th coolest   16.3...22.8...19th coolest
Dillon.......28.7..26.2...24th warmest   18.7...23.2... 8th coolest
Great Falls..25.5..27.3...55th coolest   19.4...25.8...15th coolest
Havre........24.7..22.2...36th warmest   17.8...19.8...61st coolest
Helena.......24.7..27.7...61st coolest   17.0...24.2...14th coolest
Lewistown....26.6..25.7...43rd warmest   19.6...24.2...20th coolest
W Yellowston.20.6..15.2...21st warmest   11.8...12.7...23rd coolest

Precipitation...Inches...
              FEB   NORM                DEC-FEB  NORM
Bozeman.......0.27..0.45...24th driest   1.03....1.47...20th driest
Cut Bank......0.82..0.21... 4th wettest  2.42....0.61... 5th wettest
Dillon........0.15..0.24...35th driest   0.51....0.76...22nd driest
Great Falls...0.57..0.47...50th wettest  2.31....1.53...42nd wettest
Havre.........0.69..0.28...27th wettest  1.85....1.01...39th wettest
Helena........0.68..0.30...32nd wettest  2.58....1.06...21st wettest
Lewistown.....0.68..0.44...49th wettest  1.36....1.67...24th driest
W Yellowstone.4.15..1.58...     Wettest  9.97....6.11... 6th wettest

Snowfall...Inches...
               FEB  NORM                OCT-FEB  NORM
Bozeman....... 8.6.. 4.9...17th highest  37.2....22.2...10th highest
Bozeman MSU...15.7..11.5...22nd highest  62.6....56.1...29th highest
Cut Bank......12.4.. 4.8... 6th highest  49.7....23.0... 3rd highest
Dillon........ 3.7.. 3.6...45th lowest   27.7....21.6...40th highest
Great Falls... 6.8.. 8.3...60th highest  37.7....38.0...49th highest
Havre......... 9.1.. 5.8...22nd highest  30.8....27.1...42nd highest
Helena........10.8.. 5.0...32nd highest  48.6....18.5...29th highest
Lewistown..... 9.8.. 3.4...36th highest  39.4....31.2...49th highest
W Yellowstone.31.8..25.8...25th highest 125.0...124.3...33rd highest

Average Wind Speed...MPH...
              FEB   NORM   RANK         DEC-FEB  NORM   RANK
Bozeman.......5.9....5.2...20th calmest   5.0.... 5.0...20th calmest
Cut Bank.....12.1...12.8...19th calmest  13.8....13.8...24th calmest
Dillon.......11.3... 9.6...20th windiest 10.3.... 9.6...28th windiest
Great Falls..11.1...13.0...21st calmest  12.1....14.0... 8th calmest
Havre........ 9.8... 8.9...36th windiest 11.6.... 9.3... 7th windiest
Helena....... 5.4....6.4...16th calmest   4.9.... 6.0... 3rd calmest
Lewistown....10.1... 9.6 ..29th calmest   9.9....10.1...27th calmest
W Yellowston. 8.2                         6.0

Temperature and precipitation records for Bozeman began in
1935, Cut Bank began in 1903, Dillon began in 1939, Great Falls
began in 1891, Havre and Helena began in 1880, Lewistown began in
1896, and West Yellowstone began in 1905. Wind records at Bozeman
and Dillon began in 1948, Cut Bank and Lewistown in 1938, Great
Falls in 1939, Havre in 1889, Helena in 1880 and West Yellowstone in
2010. The normal period for all elements is 1981 to 2010.

These data are preliminary and have not undergone final QC by NCEI.
Therefore these data are subject to revision. Final and certified
climate data can be accessed at the National Centers for
Environmental Information.

$$
&&

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