GREAT FALLS — Temperatures as a whole were above average across Montana during the month of October. Helena experienced its 10th-warmest October on record. We typically see west to northwest flow across the state, however this October we mainly experienced west to southwest flow. This drew in warmer air for the majority of the month.
Great Falls International Airport only had three days with measurable precipitation during October making this the 8th-driest October on record.
However, precipitation varied across the state. Higher amounts were reported in eastern Montana and southwestern Montana.
The lack of precipitation has worsened the ongoing drought in central Montana. Exceptional drought now extends from Great Falls down to Helena as well as areas east of Lewistown and up toward Glasgow.
There have been some improvements to eastern Montana's drought along with northwestern Montana. Dry conditions allowed wildfire season to persist into October.
The South Moccasin fire ignited northwest of Lewistown on October 4th and burned until October 9th, scarring more than 12,500 acres. The Crown Mountain fire also ignited in early October near Augusta, burning over 1,300 acres. Downsloping resulted in many Pacific Northwest storm sytems dissipating before reaching central Montana.
November is a notoriously dry month in Great Falls, with just under three-quarters of an inch being the average monthly precipitation.
The typical first 1"+ snowfall is October 14th and we have yet to see that in Great Falls. You can expect snow chances to increase as we progress through the month. We also shave about 10 degrees off of our average high over the course of the month.