Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Missoula, MT

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Missoula MT
1059 AM MST Thu Mar 1 2018 /959 AM PST Thu Mar 1 2018/

...Climate Summary for February 2018...

After a mild January, an arctic air mass spilled over the
Continental Divide February 3 and 4 causing blizzard and severe
driving conditions along Highway 2 between Marias Pass and West
Glacier. Winds were sustained over 30 mph and with gusts ranging
between 40 and 53 mph. A local spotter in Essex remarked that it
was one of the worst events that he has seen in over a decade
there. While freezing rain was reported in the Flathead Valley,
more blowing and drifting snow occurred towards Garrison Junction
on Interstate 90. Another arctic event occurred February 4 and 5
when more freezing rain, blowing and drifting snow and severe
driving conditions occurred from the Flathead Valley to Marias

Literally two days later on February 7, another arctic air
intrusion event occurred. This time the winds were even stronger
in the Flathead Valley causing zero visibility from blowing snow,
blowing and drifting snow that caused severe driving conditions.
While Glacier Park International Airport saw frequent wind gusts
in the 50 to 56 mph range between 4 and 7 pm on the 8th, gusts in
the 40s lasted through the evening hours. Numerous power outages
were reported, trees were uprooted from the wind in Columbia Falls
and a power pole went down in the Swan Lake area. Moderate to
heavy snow bands brought difficult driving conditions across west-
central Montana.

A winter storm on the evening of Valentines Day brought more
blowing snow, flash-freezing with icy conditions and severe
driving conditions across the Flathead Valley.

The big snow producing storm for the month occurred between
February 17 and 18. Over a foot and a half of snow fell along
Highway 200 between Heron and Thompson Falls, portions of the
western Flathead Valley, between Seeley Lake and Ovando, Yaak and
Essex. Many areas saw white-out conditions from Northwest Montana
to the Continental Divide near Helmville. Severe driving
conditions with chains required were reported on Highway 2 between
Columbia Falls and Marias Pass. Blizzard conditions with strong
northeast winds gusting to 47 mph occurred in the Flathead Valley
which likely led to emergency travel only requested by
Flathead County. Wet roads became icy and snow-covered across
west-central Montana causing severe driving conditions for
portions of US-93 between Arlee and Florence. Heavy snow also was
reported across central Idaho with Pierce getting 9 inches while
Powell saw 2 feet of accumulation.

A weather system brought anywhere between 6 and 10 inches of
fluffy snow to the Grangeville area February 22 and 23 causing
roads to be slick and difficult. This led to blowing and drifting
snow and whiteout conditions the the night of the 23rd into the
morning of the 24th affecting Highways 95 and 13. There were
reports of drifts between 2 and 6 feet high west and south of
Grangeville which caused some roads to be impassible for a period.

Another weather system brought 1 to 2 feet of heavy snow across
central Idaho into Western Montana between Feb. 23 and 26. Lookout
Pass saw up to 28 inches while Elk River in Idaho saw over 2

Official Climate Station stats:

Glacier Park International Airport:
Average temperature= 19.6 degrees , 7.5 degrees colder than
normal. Total Snowfall= 25.6 inches, 17.7 inches above normal. 3rd
snowiest February since 1899. Interestingly enough February 2017
was the 2nd snowiest at 29.2 inches. Precipitation= 1.56 inches,
0.59 inches above normal.

Missoula International Airport:
Average temperature= 24.8 degrees, 5.2 degrees below normal.
Snowfall= 17.7 inches, 11.8 inches above normal. Precipitation=
1.58 inches, 0.88 inches above normal.

Other interesting and unofficial climate information:

Cooperative observer information (COOP):

 Snowfall   Rank            Location                  Missing days
   48.2    5th highest    2 miles NW of Heron, MT     0
   45.5    2nd highest    Hungry Horse Dam, MT        0
   40.5    7th highest    West Glacier, MT            7
   32.5    9th highest    Pierce, ID                  0
   22.6        N/A        9 miles NNE Yaak, MT        2
   19.0        N/A        Alberton, MT                0
   18.0   10th highest    Fenn Ranger Station, ID     1
   16.1        N/A        Libby Dam, MT               4
   15.2        N/A        14 miles NE Sula            3
   15.0    5th highest    Eureka Ranger Station, MT   3
    4.5   15th highest    Riggins, ID                 1
    4.0   19th highest    2 miles SSE May, MT         0

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

 Snowfall     Location                         Missing days
   58.5     1.2 mi. east Seeley Lake, MT        1
   39.6     2.9 mi. Ovando, MT                 10
   37.6     3.0 mi. east Noxon, MT              1
   36.2     9.3 mi. NW Thompson Falls, MT       3
   34.3     7.7 mi. south Columbia Falls,MT     4
   29.7     1.1 mi. SE Marion, MT               2
   28.6     2.5 mi. WNW Kalispell, MT           2
   27.4    13.7 mi. SE Evergreen, MT            1
   23.2     7.4 mi. NW Anaconda, MT             1
   20.3     4.1 mi. NE Ronan, MT                7
   15.6     0.4 mi. SW Grangeville, ID          1
    8.4     4.2 mi. ENE Corvallis               1

Observations are collected from a variety of sources with varying
equipment and exposures. We thank all volunteer weather observers
for their dedication. Not all data listed are considered official.

If you would like to become a volunteer CoCoRaHS observer, go to and click on "Join CoCoRaHS" and follow
the directions thereafter.

A YouTube video that summarizes the winter of 2018 is available at:

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