MISSOULA — It’s rare to see grass in the valleys of western Montana in mid-January, but that’s what we have in many spots.
While the lower elevations lack snow, the mountains are benefiting from what has been a very active January.
A series of Pacific storm systems have brought snowpack totals close to normal, and in some regions above normal.
In fact, at the beginning of the month, the mountains were well-below average, so the difference is noticeable -- which has been a welcome sight for skiers and snowboarders.
“The past couple of weeks we’ve been able to build the snowpack back up to where it should be for this time of year,” said Luke Robinson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Missoula.
For example, the Flathead is up to 116% above normal and the Kootenai is at 110%. Meanwhile, the mountains around Missoula, the lower Clark Fork Region, and the Bitterroot mountains are at about 95% to 96% of normal.
Meanwhile, both the Flathead and Mission valleys are running about a foot below the average for snowfall so far this season.