Records Falling Throughout Montana

I can’t remember such strong adjectives used to describe record cold weather.  Give credit to the people at The Missoulian – they seem to have a sense of humor.

The slaughter continues.

Western Montana weather records were again gunned down in droves Sunday, many of them falling by double digits as an arctic air mass parked itself over much of the state.

The good news? An arrest warrant has been issued, and this arctic weather will be in custody by Tuesday.

“It’s actually in the process of weakening right now,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Kitsmiller.

First, though, the casualties for Oct. 11, 2009.

Previous Missoula low: 20, set in 1990.

“Yeah, we killed that with 11 degrees,” said Kitsmiller.

Kalispell’s previous low? 20 in 1987. Fourteen degrees cooler it was Sunday, at 6.

Butte, which had a wispy overnight cloud cover, chimed in at a balmy 13, beating the 22-year-old record by a single degree.

Say a silent “thank you” that you don’t live in Polebridge, unless you’re reading this story from Polebridge. The tiny community on the west perimeter of Glacier National Park suffered a 10-below-zero night, which beat the previous record low by a whopping 17 degrees.

Missoula’s high temperature peaked at 30, destroying the previous low maximum of 44. Kalispell’s high was 32, four degrees lower than the old record.

Now, back to the good news.

Tuesday will get us back above freezing, say to 40 or so. By Wednesday, the arctic air mass should be run out of town by an encroaching warm air mass from the southwest. Highs in western Montana will be in the vicinity of 50.

That’s the silver lining. The dark cloud is that the moving mass will likely bring rain to the state.

But the warmer air will blunt any danger of freezing rain, except in northwestern Montana, which could get coated with ice on Tuesday night and into Wednesday, said Kitsmiller.

“Northwest Montana,” he said, “could be in a volatile situation.”

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