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The Beginning of Winter Weather

Winter weather has arrived in Montana early this year. That isn’t surprising since we’ve had longer, colder, snowier winters and short summers for most of the last 10 years, so it is a trend. We had a very short summer this year. It didn’t warm up until July 5 and our first light frost was in August, with the first heavy frost in early September. That means that the growing season was between 75 and 90 days. The normal growing season, not counting the last 10 years, is 110 to 130 days.

Last night, a winter storm warning went up over a lot of Montana and locally, we were told to expect 2-4 inches of snow. Granted, that isn’t very much snow unless you have to drive in it, which my daughter does. She has to drive 50 miles to work every day. We didn’t get more than a few really big flakes here, but when she got to work, there were four inches of snow on the ground there at 5 am.

The pictures that follow are from various public webcams in various locations. Note that these images were taken in the late afternoon after a lot of the snow had melted off.

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Here is a spectacular view over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. The snow level here is about 200 feet higher than the camera, so the ground is relatively bare, though it can only be seen in the far distance at the shore on the other side of the lake. The white that can be seen at the shoreline on the middle right isn't snow, it is a lodge that is painted white.

Lookout Pass

This is one of the most heavily used passes in Montana; Lookout Pass. If we go to Washington State, Idaho, Oregon, or California, we would go over this pass. Even after the warmth of the day, there is still about four inches of snow on the ground, not counting the berm where snow is stacked up after being plowed off the roadway. 

As traveled as this pass is, this is also one of the stormiest in the state and it has more snow advisories and warnings than just about any other place in Montana. 

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Written by Rex Trulove

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