Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS
AXUS75 KTFX 282103
DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
303 PM MDT MON OCT 28 2013
...Drought Conditions Continue to Improve West and Southwest...
Month to date measurements through October 28 show those portions of
Montana from central to south central and southeast receiving above
to well above normal precipitation. Meantime, areas west, southwest
and northeast have received below to well below normal
precipitation. Temperatures have been near to below average
statewide. Basin snowpack is starting to accumulate with most basins
near to above normal for this point in the season.
As of October 22, the portion of Montana in some stage of drought on
the National Drought Monitor dropped to less than 3 percent /2.44/.
All the D3-Extreme Drought category has been removed from Montana.
That portion of the state in the D2-Severe Drought category is just
over 1 percent /1.01/. That portion of the state in the D1-Moderate
Drought category is less than 2 percent /1.43/. Just over 12
percent /12.02/ of Montana is in the D0-Abnormally Dry category
leaving over 85 percent /85.55/ of Montana with neither a drought
designation nor D0-Abnormally Dry designation.
The Seasonal Drought Outlook released October 17 shows those small
areas still experiencing drought conditions improving through the
end of January. These assessments are based on current conditions,
long term forecasts and the climatic trends for better chances of
above normal precipitation in these areas during the autumn and
SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...
STATE AND LOCAL ACTIONS...
The Montana Governor`s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee
met for the last time this season October 25. Copies of the
presentations provided at the meeting can be reviewed through the
Committee`s website below. Reports all discussed the recent
precipitation and resulting impacts...particularly southwest and
south central. The Committee will continue to perform county by
county assessments through the winter months, with the first public
meeting for the 2014 season scheduled for April.
SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS...
With above average precipitation across much of Montana in September,
and across central, south central and southeast Montana is October
to date, soil moisture improvement was noted particularly west and
south Montana. While portions of northeast Montana, particularly in
the vicinity of Fort Peck Lake noted some soil moisture loss, this
area continues to see above average soil moisture. There are no
longer any areas of the state with soil moisture in the 2nd or less
wetness percentile, and only relatively small areas show soil
moisture to be in the 10th to 20th percentile.
As of October 20, both topsoil and subsoil moisture ratings were
above last year and the 5 year average. Topsoil moisture ranked as
short to very short was at 26 percent /5-year average is 42 percent,
last year was 76 percent/. Subsoil moisture short to very short was
29 percent /5-year average is 52 percent, last year was 85 percent/.
Range/pasture determined to be poor to very poor was 15
percent...less than the conditions last year /77 percent/ and the
5-year average /35 percent/.
As of October 28, no fire restrictions were in place in Montana.
For the 2013 wildfire season, Montana has had 1,734 wildfires with a
combined total of 124,411 acres. Over half of these fires /943/ were
human-caused. As of October 28, 29 of these fires surpassed 100
acres in size, and 2 of these fires, Lolo Creek Complex and Rumsey
Gulch, destroyed 17 buildings. Total estimated cost to fight these
fires is over $70 million /$73,361,452/. The largest of these fires
includes Gold Pan Complex /43,429 acres/, Red Shale /12,379 acres/,
Miner Paradise /combination of Emigrant, Sheep Creek, North Eight
Mile and Horsetail fires for 11,960 acres/, Lolo Creek
Complex /10,902 acres/, Damnation /8,246 acres/, Eureka /6,468
acres/, West Mullan /6,282 acres/, Moose Meadows /3,500 acres/,
Winter /2,756/, and Firestone Flats /1,570/.
September for Montana was the 111th warmest and 112th wettest of 119
years of record. The first half of the month was generally warm with
several late season severe thunderstorms. The latter half of the
month brought more erratic conditions with areas of heavy rain west
and some, mainly mountain, snow. Areas around Butte reported up to
18 inches of snow which caused significant tree damage in the Butte
area. Statewide composite temperatures averaged over 4 /4.2/ degrees
Fahrenheit above normal for the month with some areas as much as 7
degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
While most of the state received above normal precipitation, small
areas in central Montana and near the eastern border received below
September ended Water Year 2013/October through September/. For the
2013 water year, the statewide mean temperature was 0.7 degrees
Fahrenheit above normal, the 40th warmest of record. Statewide
precipitation averaged 2.05 inches above normal, the 18th wettest of
record. Mean wind speeds were 0.7 mph below normal, making it the
13th calmest season.
The November outlook for Montana released October 17 indicates there
is no forecast skill toward warmer or colder, wetter or drier
conditions for the state. As a result, there are equal chances for
above, below or near normal temperatures and precipitation for the
Moving into the winter months, December through February, still
models show no forecast skill toward warmer or colder, wetter or
drier conditions for the state. As a result, there are equal chances
for above, below or near normal temperatures and precipitation
through the season.
In an update released October 10, the National Weather Service
Climate Prediction Center with the International Research Institute
for Climate and Society stated that El Nino Southern
Oscillation /ENSO/ neutral conditions are favored into spring 2014.
HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
Above average precipitation across much of Montana in September, and
across areas of central to south central and southeast Montana in
October has put streamflow in the near to above normal categories at
several sites across the state. Streamflow at several sites in the
eastern half of Montana are now above or much above average for the
date. Several sites west of the Continental Divide and in southwest
are in the below normal range with only 4 sites running much below
normal...the 24th percentile or lower.
The October SWSI /Surface Water Supply Index/ issued by the Natural
Resources Conservation Service indicates of the 53 rivers and
streams evaluated, 17 showed worsening conditions, and 6 of these
dropped into the next drier category. There were 32 rivers and
streams that showed some improvement with 9 moving into a wetter
category and 11 moving up 2 categories. Five streams remained the
same as their September reading. Three streams are in the Extremely
Dry category; Little Bighorn River, Gallatin River, and the
Bitterroot River. There were 15 streams in the Moderately Dry
At the end of September, major reservoirs across Montana were mostly
near to slightly above historical averages for the date. A few
reservoirs remain below to well below normal for the date. Some of
the lower readings include Gibson /31 percent of average/, Lower Two
Medicine Lake /37 percent of average/, Pishkun /40 percent of
average/, Clark Canyon /52 percent of average/, Lake Frances /53
percent of average/, Nevada Creek /57 percent of average/, Lima /70
percent of average/, and Martinsdale /70 percent of average/.
NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...
As drought conditions in Montana have improved to the point that no
areas of the state are in the D3-Extreme Drought category or worse
on the national drought monitor, this will be the last routine
issuance of the Montana Drought Information Statement. Updates to
this product will resume when drought conditions in Montana again
worsen and approach the D3-Extreme Drought category.
RELATED WEB SITES...
Additional information on current drought conditions may be found at
the following web addresses...
National Drought Outlook...www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Drought/
U.S. Drought Monitor...droughtmonitor2.unl.edu/
NOAA Drought Information Center...www.drought.noaa.gov/
National Integrated Drought Information System /NIDIS/Drought
Montana Drought and Water Information...drought.mt.gov
NWS Great Falls Drought Information...
Western Regional Climate Center...wrcc.dri.edu
Climate Prediction Center /CPC/...www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
NWS River Information...water.weather.gov/ahps/
USGS Water Resources of Montana...mt.water.usgs.gov/
US Bureau of Reclamation Great Plains Region...www.usbr.gov/gp/
US Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Region...www.usbr.gov/pn/
US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District... www.nwo.usace.army.mil
Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Supply...
National 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.
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