Havre, and much of the state, got a bit of a break from the recent hot, dry weather, with National Weather Service reporting Havre receiving the most rain in the state Sunday and setting a new record.
While much of the state received some moisture from a weather system that pushed through from Idaho, the state — and local governments — are still closely watching how dry conditions become, a concern highlighted by severe wildfires in the eastern and southwestern part of the state in recent weeks.
But the thunderstorms and showers over the weekend dropped close to an inch of rain on Havre, with Weather Service reporting a record. 98 inches Sunday at its recording station at the Havre City-County Airport west of town.
Paul Nutter, Weather Service meteorologist in Great Falls, said the storms were widespread, although how much, if any, moisture locations received depended on where the storms broke.
“A lot of our counties have a good bit of precipitation here …, ” Nutter said this morning. “It was a good break after a heat wave. ”
The state government has been closely watching the situation, with a meeting to update conditions as necessary scheduled for Tuesday, Jesse Aber of the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, a member of the Governor’s Drought Advisory Committee, said this morning.
“We’ll just have to see what happens, ” Aber said. “These next couple of weeks are critical. They always are. ”
Gina Loss, Weather Service hydrologist in Great Falls and also a member of the state drought committee, said Friday that north-central Montana had been doing better than much of the state as far as moisture.
The state drought map for June showed a stretch from Toole County through Liberty, Chouteau, Hill and Blaine counties east through Phillips, Valley and Daniels counties still listed as slightly moist.
Loss said that can change very quickly, as was experienced in southwestern and southeastern Montana.
“We went from nothing to having several fires in a matter of days, ” she said.
Nutter said the amounts of rain varied greatly. While the Havre airport reported 0.98 inches, in Blaine County the highest amount reported was. 22 inches in Harlem and an observer in Chester reported. 19 inches.
Another system is coming through, bringing a chance of more thunderstorms and rain showers moving from southwestern Montana up to the Hi-Line by this evening and continuing through Wednesday, Nutter said.
The forecast calls for warmer, dry weather starting Wednesday, he said — coinciding with the start of the Great Northern Fair in Havre.
Loss said the forecast for the majority of the state — other than the far eastern one-fifth — is for warmer and drier than normal weather for the next few months.
“There are better chances for the remainder of the summer to be warm and dry, ” she said.