Of all the advice you hear about living in Missoula, or Montana for that matter, "Wear layers" ranks at the top of the list. It's no secret that you can experience all four seasons in one day in Montana and because Missoula is located in a valley, the weather is generally unpredictable.

It's about this time of year when spring "officially" starts, and other parts of the country are enjoying temperatures on the rise, that Missoula, and much of Montana, gets what I like to think of as "Second Winter."

"Second Winter"

"Second Winter" happens after the holidays, and after the temperature has gone back up to at least 40 degrees for as long as a week. Montanans get lulled into a false sense of springtime, only to experience snow and cold, sometimes as late as June, but very often in March.

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While national home improvements stores are pulling out gardening gear, and department stores are folding up their sweaters in exchange for t-shirts and sundresses (which doesn't help with the whole "Wear layers" thing), Missoulians are still heading to the slopes or drinking hot tea while curled up with a good book.

Snow, in March?

So, how likely is it that Missoula will be blanketed in snow when we all want to be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in our finest green shorts and suspenders? If you look at the highest daily snowfall records for Missoula by year, for about 80 years beginning in 2009, a day in March had the highest snowfall total 11% of the time. Looking at historical data from the National Weather Service, in 2001-2002 March in Missoula saw a total snowfall of 14.1 inches for the month, and on average, since 1999 Missoula got 4.8 inches of snow in March.

If you're new to Missoula and you thought that it was time to pull out your warm-weather clothes, think again.

And if you're still getting to know Missoula, keep reading for a fun way to explore our city.

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