BOZEMAN – The first nine days of February have been impressive for snow across SW Montana, especially east of the divide.
The month began with near record highs wiping out most of the lower valley snowpack. That quickly changed by the 2nd of February with storm after storm through the 8th of February.
Many (not all) valleys east of the divide across SW Montana have seen between 1’ to just under 2’ of snow in the first nine days of the month and ski resorts are reporting around 3.5’ of new snow.
Normally February is one of the driest months of the year and for the first nine days of month normal valley total snowfall is between 1” to 3”.
But this year this has been the snowiest start on record from February 1 – 9 for Belgrade, Big Sky, and Grant (near Dillon). The 2nd snowiest start for Bozeman MSU and Ennis.
This past week the heavy snowfall was just that “heavy” with a tremendous amount of water adding substantial weight to the snow. In fact, it was more reminiscent of what we would see in late March rather than early February.
The question going forward is will this continue? Short answer is yes. The Climate Prediction Center 8 to 14 day outlook is calling for below normal temperatures through February 23rd and near normal to slightly above normal precipitation for SW Montana.
This pattern has given all river basins in the state a huge boost in snow water equivalent percent of average values.
Spring begins in 41 days.