Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A pile of snow at the corner of North Fourth Street and First Avenue North Wednesday morning in Columbus.

Winter wonderland continues with Saturday snowfall record

The holiday season may be done but the winter weather is still going strong.
The most recent storm system to come through Stillwater County last weekend brought 5.2 inches of snow last Saturday, setting a record for Jan. 3, according to National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tom Frieders.
As of Jan. 5, 6.9 inches of snow had fallen in Columbus. The normal amount of snowfall for the entire month of January is 6.5 inches. With the snow has come colder temperatures, with the average daily reading in Columbus hitting 14.6 degrees -- which is 10.5 degrees colder than normal.
At Mystic Lake, nine inches of snow has fallen so far. Mystic Lake normally gets 16.6 inches of snowfall in January. The average daily temperature through Jan. 5 was 17.9 degrees, which is 9.6 degrees colder than normal.
And in Rapelje, the first five days of the month brought 3.2 inches of snow. Normal snowfall for the entire month is 7.4 inches. The average daily temperature of 19.2 degrees is 7.9 degrees colder than normal.
The NWS issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook in anticipation of another arctic cold front expected to arrive Thursday and bring cold temperatures and more snow.

December weather
December was a fairly average month for snow and cold in Columbus.
There was 8.6 inches of snowfall, compared to the normal amount of 8.2 inches, according to the NWS. The biggest snowfall was 4.1 inches on Christmas Day. The average daily temperature of 26.9 degrees was just slightly warmer than the normal December reading of 24 degrees.
Mystic Lake’s 33.2 inches of snow in December was more than 1 3/4 times the normal amount of 18.1 inches. The biggest single-day snowfall came on Christmas with 21 inches. The average daily temperature of 28 degrees was two degrees up from normal.
Rapelje saw a different story, with 4.6 inches of snowfall, marking a below-normal amount of 8.5 inches. As was the case all around the county, Christmas was the heaviest snowfall day, but registering just .15 inches, according to the NWS. The average daily temperature of 28.8 degrees was up a tick from the normal reading of 26.4 degrees.

Mountain Snowpack
As of Tuesday, Jan. 6, snowpack statewide is strong. In all but three of the 21 basins listed on the Nature Resources Conservation Service Montana SNOTEL site, snowpack is above average. Some of the basins are as follows:
•Upper Yellowstone Basin: 130% of normal
•Lower Yellowstone Basin: 112% of normal
•Jefferson River Basin: 120% of normal
•Madison River Basin: 97% of normal
•Gallatin River Basin: 120% of normal
•Missouri Headwaters: 116% of normal