2019: Record-setting snow and cold seen in parts of Montana

Most snow in one calendar year, and a very frigid February!
Posted at 8:30 AM, Dec 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-26 10:30:46-05

Year after year, Montana weather seems to have a mind of it's own, and 2019 was no exception.

To start the year off in our region, the snow piled up and the temperatures began to fall. Glasgow broke the snow record in February with 28.2 inches and Great Falls came in third place for the month with 32.3 total inches.

And the temperatures - how could we forget? The month read in at the second-coldest February in recorded history for Great Falls, Helena, Havre, and Glasgow. Great Falls managed to climb above 0 degrees only a few times during the entire month.

And with snow like that, there's bound to be flooding, especially when you toss in some rain. Flood warnings blanketed the Augusta area all the way to Vaughn in the latter half of May, with the Sun River out of its banks in turn flooding towns, farms, and roads.

And it wouldn't be summer in Montana without a few wildfires. One of the more memorable events in our area - the North Hills Fire in northern Lewis & Clark County. The fire started on July 26 and ended up burning more than 4,700 acres. The fire caused numerous evacuations.

And then came the severe thunderstorms. Large hail caused significant damage to the Townsend area on August 11th. Storm reports listed cracked windshields, dented vehicles, and numerous downed tree branches.

And to wrap it up - record-setting snow. A powerful storm arrived in late September, dumping several feet of snow throughout our region. Some areas in Glacier County received up to four feet of snow, and Great Falls recorded 19 inches during the three-day storm.

This system put us on track to beat the all-time annual snow record in Great Falls for 2019. By the end of November, Great Falls recorded 119.3" of snow since January 1st, which is more than the previous record of 116.5", set back in 1989. That's nearly double the normal yearly average, which is 63.5" inches.

Great Falls also picked up record snow for meteorological Fall, which runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1. During that span, Great Falls received 60.4" inches of snow, shattering the previous record of 29.1" set in 1985.

As the saying goes here in Montana - if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes.