Record High Temperatures Meet Record Low Rainfall [YouTube]
The perfect storm of near record high temperatures will clash with record low rainfall and streamflows later this week, and forecasters are worried.
Chief Hydrologist with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula, Ray Nickless said on Monday that unseasonably hot temperatures will arrive by Friday.
"What we're looking at this summer is a lack of snowpack this past winter, and then with the spring, a lot less rain than we expected," Nickless said. "We're setting records for the lack of precipitation up in Kalispell in the month of May, and now June hasn't been any better. Typically, we get nearly two inches of rain in May and June in places like Missoula and Kalispell, and we're not seeing anything like that at all."
Nickless said the combination has led to record low levels of water in streams and rivers.
"The lack of snow that we had, and now the lack of precipitation, we're already starting to see record low streamflows in many of our rivers across western Montana," he said. "Unfortunately, things are just going to get worse because as we go into this weekend, we're going to see temperatures going into the 90's and staying there, with very little if any precipitation in the forecast."
Nickless said the long range outlook does not bode well for the area.
"We'd better hope that we don't continue with this heat wave," he said, "We're not seeing any relief in sight. It's just hot, hot, hot through the Fourth of July."
Fire danger in western Montana has been increased to very high, due to extremely dry conditions.