It’s going to be a La Nina winter in western Montana.

Forecaster Marty Whitmore with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula is predicting a winter that will be colder and wetter than normal.

“It does look like the La Nina pattern in the tropics is going to set up, and what that means for us is usually a wetter than normal winter,” Whitmore said. “We had a La Nina winter last year and it played out pretty well. Temperatures are not quite as strong a signature, but here in western Montana, what usually dictates our temperature pattern is how many of those arctics come down from the north and spill over into the valleys.”

Whitmore said the average snowfall for a La Nina winter is about 50 inches total throughout the season.

“A La Nina pattern doesn’t indicate a magnitude, such as double normal or anything like that,” he said. “It doesn’t look like one of those sunny, upper level stagnant air patterns. It looks like we’ll have periodic weather systems, and of course some people are loving that, and others may be dreading that.”

Whitmore says the temperature will dictate whether there will be snow or freezing rain as the precipitation, but if the trend is for cooler air, the result will be more snow.

The Old Farmers Almanac agreed that the winter of 2017-2018 will be cold and snowy.



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