BOZEMAN – February 2020 looked and felt a lot like February 2019 for SW Montana. The last two years the month of February was one of the snowiest winter months. The big difference between February 2019 and February 2020 was temperature trends. For example, February 2019 average temperature departure from normal for Bozeman MSU was -16.1° below normal, for 2020 only -1.5° below normal.
Analyzing the February climate data into three categories: average temperature, total precipitation and total snowfall.
Average temperatures across SW Montana varied from 11.6° in West Yellowstone to 26.2° at Bozeman MSU. Almost all reporting stations in our region had average temperature departures from normal colder than normal.
Total precipitation was a little more varied with some impressive exceptions. Butte and Dillon had near normal precipitation during the month of February with departures slightly above normal. Bozeman and Belgrade on the other hand came in the departures over an inch at Bozeman MSU and over three tenths of an inch at Belgrade (Bozeman Yellowstone Airport).
Total snowfall for February set records again for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, snowfall data is not collected in Butte or Dillon airports so you will see an N/A. Bozeman MSU and Belgrade had their snowiest February on record and barely surpassing last years totals with 29.7” at Bozeman MSU and 20.4” at Belgrade. Bozeman MSU departure from normal was an incredible 18.2” above normal.
Due to the mild temperatures during the last weeks of the month snow loading has not been an issue this February compared to last February and March.