Monday, October 30, 2006

Snow on the Flathead

Winter has arrived!

Last night (Oct. 29, 2006) the Flathead valley received our first snow of the season. Although technically it is still Fall, Winter has now been formally announced. The valley floor only saw an inch or so of the white stuff, but higher elevations may have received from 6 to 12 inches. This will be welcome news for the ski resorts (Big Mountain and Blacktail) as they usually open by Thanksgiving, but have no appreciable snow as of yesterday.

Flathead Lake does not freeze over most winters, although the bays often cover over with ice. This is due to the sheer volume of the lake and dynamic wind patterns. According to the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station, the lake did freeze over in the winters of 1978-79 (all winter), 1987-88 (all winter), 1988-89 (March only) and 1989-90 (January only).

What makes this snow and cooler weather such an anomaly is that on Saturday we experienced a perfect Montana Fall day. Beautiful blue skies, sunshine and the thermometer climbed all the way to 60 degrees. Twenty-four hours later, the temperature had dropped 40 degrees and snow began to fall from the sky. I LOVE Montana!

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