While it didn’t seem to dampen spirits much, Old Man Winter intruded on the Thanksgiving holiday in this part of Montana.
National Weather Service reported Havre as the low spot in the state for temperature and the high spot for precipitation Thursday. While the snow that dropped Thanksgiving Day was pretty well melted off, in Havre at least, by Saturday night, the area was blanketed again Sunday.
That didn’t seem to impact festivities, with people on the highways despite the precipitation Wednesday, and the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, the Chinook Parade of Lights and Christmas Stroll and Festival of Trees Friday, and Havre’s Community Tree Lighting Saturday all well-attended.
The storm was fairly unexpected, with forecasts of snow showers Thursday and Sunday in some predictions but some weather entities predicting a dry Thanksgiving Day in the area as late as Wednesday morning.
While no records were set, Weather Service reported Havre as the wintry-est part of the state on the holiday.
The service reported that, at its Havre reporting station at the Havre City-County Airport, 0.13 inches of precipitation fell Wednesday, with no snow reported. The temperature dropped from a high of 51 degrees to a low of 23 degrees by about quarter-to-10 that night.
And the snow, and temperatures, fell Thanksgiving Day. Weather service reported 0.11 inches of precipitation — the highest in the state — fell, with three inches of snow recorded. The temperature also fell dramatically, with the high Thursday 24 degrees shortly after noon, with the low a frigid minus 2 at 10:08 p. m.
The temperatures warmed back into the low 40s by Friday night, and again on Saturday with a trace of precipitation that day. But Old Man Winter returned Sunday, with light snow falling again and Weather Service reporting nearly an inch of snow accumulating and a high of 29 and low of 9 degrees.
Weather Service, AccuWeather.com and Weather Channel all predict more moderate weather in the next couple of weeks, with highs in the 30s and low 40s this week, with a chance of rain or snow showers Thursday in some forecasts, with lows in the teens and 20s.
Weather Service is continuing to predict a fairly unpredictable winter through the season. Earlier in the summer and fall, meteorologists were expecting an El Niño weather pattern to develop, with warmer-than-average temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. That tends to lead to warmer, drier winters in the region including Montana, with wetter, colder winters usually developing farther southeast.
Weather Service updated its predictions Nov. 19, saying “the appearance of an El Niño this winter now seems unlikely. ” It goes on to say that without an El Niño or La Niña pattern, where colder equatorial Pacific temperatures tend to lead to colder, dryer Montana winters, “usually means less predictable U. S. winter climate conditions” and has led to smaller areas predicted as above- or below-normal for temperatures and precipitation in the latest long-range outlook.
Almost all of Montana is in the normal range of temperature and precipitation in the winter outlook, with the prediction that much of the western and southern central United States could be in for a warmer-than-average winter this year, while the upper Midwest and Florida peninsula could experience colder-than-average temperatures. The outlook predicts that most of California and western Nevada could experience well-below-normal precipitation, while parts of the southeast could receive well-above-normal precipitation.