The warmer-than-usual weather on the Hi-Line is expected to drop to closer-to-normal temperatures this week but to continue to be warmer than December.
That follows wild swings in winter weather starting in December, and one long-range forecast predicts colder days by the start of February.
The warmth hit less than a month after the Hi-Line was the coldest spot in the nation, with a minus 46 temperature reported southeast of Chester about Dec. 7, and the official temperatures for Chinook, minus 42, the coldest spot in the lower 48 states Dec. 8 and its minus 43 tying for that distinction Dec. 7 with Jordan and Mizpah in Custer County.
The past week has seen temperatures jump into springlike highs, with highs in the upper 40s and even hitting 52 in Havre Jan. 11.
The average high temperature for this area this time of year is in the high 20s.
The snow generally has let off on the Hi-Line during the warm spell, but the winter has seen some heavy snowfall in this region. Much of that has melted off during the last 10 days.
The winter also has seen some significant wind, with a gust of 115 mph recorded in the Rocky Mountains west of Browning Jan. 11. That day, gusts near or over 50 mph were recorded in the Havre area.
This week, National Weather Service predicts high temperatures to drop mainly into the 30s — although a high in the 20s is predicted for Wednesday, along with a chance of rain and snow falling Tuesday night and snow likely Wednesday, before temperatures are expected to rise back into the 40s by the weekend.
In longer-range forecasts, The Weather Channel predicts highs will stay in the 30s through the middle of next week.
AccuWeather.com also predicts highs to stay in the 30s — and even 40s — through Wednesday, Jan. 29, but then to drop into the teens through the start of February, even predicting lows below zero by Feb. 1.