Weather

Apr 1, 2012 9:57 AM by Mike Rawlins (KRTV Great Falls)

Spring weather outlook for Montana

GREAT FALLS- The lack of heavy winter snow this season was due to a complicated global weather pattern that prevented cold air from reaching Montana, but that pattern is changing.

Last year, heavy winter snow led to an above-average snowpack going into spring and more snow in April and May led to even higher snowpack numbers. When temperatures warmed up, that snow created major problems.

On average, our high temperatures go from the middle 50s in April to the low 70s by June. This year, those numbers look probable, with average temperatures expected through the spring months.

While many are concerned with a dangerous fire season this year in Montana, a spring with average precipitation would mean more than six inches of rain and nearly a foot of snow, and that's expected to occur this year by the end of June.

Drier than normal conditions should develop south of Montana, but we should be prepared for spring-like storms, capable of both heavy rain and snow.

According to NOAA, La Niña has weakened - meaning the waters in the Pacific Ocean have warmed to average.

Model forecasts point toward an EL Nino pattern developing by autumn, and warming of the waters in the Pacific could have major effects on our weather later this year.

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