MISSOULA — October in western Montana can be a meteorologist's dream or nightmare. The one thing it is not is dull.
October is the biggest transition month of the year when it comes to temperatures and oftentimes, our weather as a whole.
If you want a great example of the curve balls mother nature can throw our way, look no further than October of 2019.
The StormTracker Weather Team is forecasting high temperatures in the 70s in Missoula for the first full week of October.
But last year, Missoula recorded only two days in the 70s, with the warmest day of 71° coming on Oct. 25. Four days later, on Oct. 29, Missoula reached a high of 22° -- that’s a 49-degree difference in high temperature in 96 hours. Missoula followed that up with a low of 1° on Oct. 30 of 2019.
As far as precipitation goes, October is one of the driest months of the year in western Montana, which is wonderful for checking out fall colors.
However, there have been 10 occasions on record where the Missoula Valley has received at least three inches of snow, with an all-time record event of 10 inches set way back in October of 2014.
October tends to be a windy month, as the transition from warm to cool brings with it a fair share of cold fronts.
As for what’s ahead, we can safely tell you that the next seven days will be sunny and mild, and the updated long-range forecast suggests an overall warmer than average month, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have the inevitable cold snap.
So whether we like it or not, colder temperatures with better chances for rain and snow will be here soon enough.
With that in mind, we know we have several days to enjoy the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows that autumn brings set to the backdrop of a sunny sky.