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Old 02-17-2012, 12:26 PM
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Default Does it snow in Missoula?

Has this been a record year for snowfall in Missoula and the surrounding areas?
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Dean would have a better idea then me.. but I'd guess that except for that one big snow storm over there 3-4 weeks or so ago, it's an under-normal year?

It definelty is below average here.. if things dont pick up, it might be a bad late-summer, early fall fishing season.

We're probably fishing over there in September... I'm hoping Dean has a better handle..
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Does it snow in Missoula? Ahhh...yes, it does.

To your real question; we have not any kind of record snow this year. It has been pretty dry in the valley actually but nothing as bad as I've heard about the Bozeman area. The Gallatin basin snowpack looks really bad...like 60% of average.

As Dave mentioned, we had one really good storm last month that brought the snowpack up to and above average in most of the basins around here. It was an impressive, and important, snowfall.

You can google "snowpack" and find graphs and charts that show "percent of average" for specific drainages, i.e. Upper Clark Fork, Bitterroot, etc. but they are hard to read and follow. "Percent of average" is based on the average for this day in history. So while they are a good gauge to follow, they cannot predict what the summer flows are going to be like.

There are too many different factors to take into account. There could be a big, late snow fall that pushes average up. There could be a very long, cool spring that delays runoff. There could be a combination of both. It could be the opposite. I've seen good snowpacks come down way too fast during an overly hot spring and runoff is over by June 15 and rivers are low by August.

Basically, I am being no help to you. I don't like to predict what the water year will be. It's foolish. By June, then it is safe to make predictions because our summers are very stable and we never rely on rain after June.

But as of now, the snowpacks in W Montana are close to average. Man...that took a long time to answer your question. Sorry!
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Hey dean_mt,

Is there any way you could take any longer and not give me a clear answer???? you truly crack me up. I was checking the weather and general snowfall info for the Missoula area and was surprised by what I found. Time will tell for sure but please keep us posted.

The winter in the Northeast has been crazy warm and the snowfall total is just about non-existent so far....... My buddy and I just bought new float tubes and we are going to try them out this weekend on a local trout pond. The temps (Saturday) should reach a high of 45, so why not give it a go as I see it. The wives are not happy (truth be told............bet they hope we don't come back) about us going in the water in February so I'm sure we won't be long. As I see it, fishing is fishing and the earlier I start, the earlier spring will arrive.

Take care,
Dan
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

FYI,

The air was warm, the water was very cold, but we had a great time considering it is the middle of February! The new float tubes were great and the fish came to the (my) flies. The water was around 39 degrees but the fish were rather aggressive. I landed 4 rainbows and lost about 5 others in a 3 hour period. Frozen feet for sure but any day I can fish in February, is a day I wll take anytime

I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the holiday on Monday.

Take care.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dharkin View Post
Is there any way you could take any longer and not give me a clear answer????
The short, clear answer would have been: No, not a record snowfall year.

But how boring would that be?
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Very true.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

Well I live in Missoula and I am looking at about 1 foot of snow in my yard and it is snowing lightly now.
We had too much snow last year, the local rivers were blown out for a long time so I am looking forward to less runoff. We haven't had a bad water/low year since 2007. Even if snow pack is way low, we seem to get saved by rain in the Spring and early Summer.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

My son is a river raft guide "Flat head raft company" out of Polson (north of Missoula). Got family in Ronan too. Its certainly a bit behind up there but as said, the snow a couple weeks ago was certainly welcome. In the winter they are a ski and snowboard shop (he's the ski bus driver as well). An inviable job for any 21 year old. The tribes are doing the snow dance for sure.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Does it snow in Missoula?

I forget how much lower in elevation you are then us... 3,200 ft vs 4,700 ft
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