National Weather Service Predicts a ‘La Nina’ Winter
More snow and colder temperatures may be in store for western Montanans this winter, says Meteorologist Luke Robinson with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula.
“We are looking at the potential for another La Nina winter this season,” said Robinson. “There is a 70 to 80% chance that we will see a La Nina season, and just like last year, typically in La Nina winters we'll see above normal snow amounts and our temperatures on average are usually below normal as well.”
Robinson said, like any normal season, there will be weather patterns that may not fit the La Nina pattern.
“Now sometimes that can come in waves like what we saw last year,” he said. “It started off pretty snowy and then we sort of got mild, and then we got cold and snowy again on the second half of the winter. And then once you total up the winter as a whole, we were above normal snowfall with temperatures so it just depends on how that shakes out.”
Robinson said October will see some changes in the weather.
“Looking at the outlook for October, the official forecast is there's a slight chance for above normal precipitation and then our temperatures should be around normal,” he said. “Now, usually by the end of October, we're starting to see those snow levels creeping down to the valley floors. It's not to say that we won't see another October like we saw last year, but right now we're not seeing those indications.”
As Homecoming week continues, Robinson said visitors will experience a mild fall weekend.
“Actually for the first week, probably the first week and a half of fall we’ll likely be above normal,” he said. “In fact it's going to feel a little warmer than normal. So for this weekend and going into early next week, we have temperatures in the upper 70s and maybe even the low 80s this weekend, and then next week, we will start to cool down a little bit to where we should be.”
The National Weather Service encourages area residents to prepare for winter now, instead of waiting for the first snowfall or cold snap.