Going Down

Temperatures keep falling
By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, February 7, 2019
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Punxsutawney Phil’s early spring prediction last week rang hollow for Montana.

Bitterly cold and hollow.

After enjoying a relatively mild winter season so far, last Saturday saw the high temperature of the month at 50 degrees, followed by a 55 degree plummet by that same night.

Sunday, Feb. 3, saw a high of 6 degrees and a low of 5 degrees below zero, followed by a high of 1 degree and a low of 5 degrees below zero on Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

And that was without wind chill. With the wind chill, lows in Stillwater County ranged between 20 and 25 degrees below zero.

On Sunday, the NWS issued a Wind Chill Advisory for portions of south central Montana that called for possible low readings of 35 degrees below zero. A new Wind Chill Advisory was issued early Wednesday morning calling for similar temperatures that was to remain in effect until noon Thursday.

And there is no let-up in sight.

At the Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting in Columbus held Wednesday, NWS Meteorologist Tom Frieders said sub-zero temperatures are expected to stretch into next week.

That is thanks to a new shot of Arctic air arriving Friday that is expected to impact south central and southeast Montana, as well as portions of north central Wyoming.

STRONG SNOWPACK

While Stillwater County has received less than half the snow that fell in last year’s monster winter, mountain snowpack is strong.

The Lower Yellowstone River Basin’s current snowpack is at 99 percent of normal while the Upper Yellowstone River Basin sits at 101 percent of normal, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Other basins are as follows:

•Madison River Basin: 98 percent of normal

•Gallatin River Basin: 110 percent of normal

•Missouri Headwaters: 100 percent of normal

•Smith/Judith/Musselshell River Basins: 105 percent of normal

•Jefferson River Basin: 96 percent of normal

•Lower Clark Fork River Basin: 86 percent of normal

•Upper Clark Fork River Basin: 97 percent of normal

•Bitterroot River Basin: 94 percent of normal

•Flathead River Basin: 84 percent of normal

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