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Drought-Like Conditions Unlikely – More Moisture in Missoula Should Bring Precipitation Levels Towards Normal


Despite many sunny days this winter, Missoula is almost average when it comes to snow pack and precipitation for this time of year.

Hydrologist Ray Nicholas with the National Weather Service in Missoula said it’s been an interesting winter as far as precipitation—or a lack thereof—goes.

“We’ve only had about 14 inches of snow here this winter, and normally we’re up in the 20s,” Nicholas said. “Our average for October, through the springtime, let’s say May, would more be in the range of 44 inches. Any moisture we get now is certainly welcomed.”

Nicholas said we aren’t on the road for severe drought, however, these conditions are subject to change based on moisture received from here on out.

“If you look at our drought map for this year, it looks like we’ve got some areas that are slightly dry as far as here in some of the counties in western Montana like Missoula County, stretching over towards Butte, and a little bit along the Montana-Idaho border,” Nicholas said. “We’ve been below average with our precipitation so we’re slightly dry, but we’re not in a situation where it’s a dire drought situation.”

Nicholas said right now, with moisture coming in from the Pacific and potential storms in the spring and summer months, Missoula will stay in the average precipitation range.

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