Fallon County will be getting a brief respite from the early taste of winter – at least for the next few weeks.
According to a meteorologist in the Billings office of the National Weather Service, the trend will be warmer for Fallon County after it was recently hit by a cold front and several snowstorms.
The regional winter weather warnings and snowstorms of a week ago will be giving way to temperatures in the mid-40s, according to Julie Arthur, one of the NWS meteorologists.
“We are going to start warming quite a bit. Friday it will be up to 48 degrees,” she said. “It is what is called a low pressure trough and it is rotating down from Canada. It is going to rotate right across Montana. It is going to bring moisture and cold weather with it,” she said Friday before the second wave of cold and snow hit the area.
“There will be a brief cool down through Nov. 2, with a chance of below normal temperatures. It doesn’t necessarily mean down below zero, but it could mean below normal temperatures.
“But then, it will change after that. There will be chances of above normal temperatures,” she explained.
That pattern of above normal and below normal temperature swings will continue through mid-November, she said. “Looking out to weeks three and four which takes us out to Nov. 20, we are still calling for above normal temperatures. It is hard to be that exact and if it is going to be a weekly cycle,” she explained.
“In general, through late November, it is going to be warmer than normal after this period of cold leaves,” she said, noting the weather that hit Fallon County over the weekend could be a preview of the upcoming winter.
The outlook for Fallon County and the area over the next few weeks if for below normal precepitation, she added.
Looking further ahead, the meteorologist said that it appears that there will be below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for the majority of the upcoming winter.
That could mean more snowfall or rainstorms, depending on the temperatures. “We can get more warm ups in January here and there,” she said. “But overall, it should be a colder than normal winter and a wetter than normal winter.”
The trends can be tied to El Nino or La Nina conditions, she explained. “El Nino is warmer than normal ocean temperatures at the surface, while La Nina is colder than normal. That is a big factor in how our winter goes.
“This year, we are looking at a pretty decent La Nina pattern. That will make it a colder and wetter winter, the meteorologist said.
The extreme weather was borne out with reports of extreme cold and snowfall across the state.
The weather dropped temperatures in Montana as low as minus 29 degrees in Potomac Sunday, reportedly the coldest temperature of the season in the lower 48 states. Reportedly Missoula had among its coldest October temperatures on record in recent days. It also logged a near record two day snowfall total of 13.8 inches, settling in as the eighth most snow on record.
In Anaconda, the Montana town had a previous cold October record of 5 degrees, but shattered in Monday morning with a minus-23 degree reading.